When used to detect whether a heart attack is occurring or may occur,
SPECT locates areas of the heart muscle that have inadequate blood flow
compared with areas that have normal flow. Inadequate blood flow means that
coronary arteries are blocked and a heart attack is
occurring. SPECT can also assess how bad the blood flow
It is a noninvasive imaging scan that exposes you to radiation. For this test, your doctor injects a tiny amount of radioactive
tracers through a vein in your arm. After the radioactive tracer is injected, a
camera that can detect the radiation emitted by these tracers rotates around
you, creating images of your heart from different angles. Then, computer
graphics are used to create three-dimensional images of your heart.
If your SPECT
test is abnormal, you are considered at high risk of a heart attack.
Antman EM (2012). ST-elevation myocardial infarction: Pathology, pathophysiology, and clinical features. In RO Bonow et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 9th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1087–1110. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.