Computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) and myocardial perfusion imaging techniques (single photon emission computed tomography, SPECT, or positron emission tomography, PET) are established non-invasive modalities for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease (CAD). Cardiac hybrid imaging consists of the combination (or 'fusion') of both modalities and allows obtaining complementary morphological (coronary anatomy, stenoses) and functional (myocardial perfusion) information in a single setting. However, hybrid cardiac imaging has also generated controversy with regard to which patients should undergo such integrated examinations for clinical effectiveness and minimization of costs and radiation dose. The feasibility and clinical value of hybrid imaging has been documented in small cohort studies and selected series of patients. Hybrid imaging appears to offer superior diagnostic and prognostic information compared with stand-alone or side-by-side interpretation of data sets. Particularly in patients with multivessel disease, the hybrid approach allows identification of flow-limiting coronary lesions and thereby provides useful information for the planning of revascularization procedures. Furthermore, integration of the detailed anatomical information from CTCA with the high molecular sensitivity of SPECT and PET may be useful to evaluate targeted molecular and cellular abnormalities in the future. While currently still restricted to specialized cardiac centres, the ongoing efforts to reduce radiation exposure and the increasing clinical interest will further pave the way for an increasing use of cardiac hybrid imaging in clinical practice.
- Cardiac hybrid imaging
- Coronary artery disease
- Molecular imaging
- Positron emission tomography
- Single photon emission computed tomography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine