Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > SPECT Image of the Heart
Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a nuclear
medicine imaging test. It is a type of positron emission tomography, also called a PET scan.
Doctors use SPECT to:
SPECT locates areas of the heart muscle that have inadequate blood flow
compared with areas that have normal flow. Inadequate blood flow may mean that
coronary arteries are narrowed or that a heart attack has occurred.
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. This creates images of your heart from different angles. Then, computer
graphics are used to create three-dimensional images of your heart.
For more information about PET scans, see Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan).
Other Works Consulted
Udelson JE, et al. (2015). Nuclear cardiology. In DL Mann et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 10th ed., vol. 1, pp. 271–315. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerStephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Current as ofJanuary 27, 2016
Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.