PET-determined myocardial perfusion and flow in coronary artery disease characterization

Ines Valenta, Thomas H. Schindler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Positron emission tomography (PET) myocardial perfusion imaging in conjunction with tracer-kinetic modeling enables the concurrent assessment of myocardial perfusion and regional myocardial blood flow (MBF) of the left ventricle in absolute terms in milliliters per gram per minute (mL/g/min). The non-invasive quantification of MBF during pharmacologically induced hyperemia, at rest, and corresponding myocardial flow reserve (MFR) opens a new avenue for the identification and characterization of classical or endogen type of coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) as functional substrate for microvascular angina in patients with non-obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and/or no CAD at all. Further, PET-MBF quantification expands the scope of conventional myocardial perfusion imaging from the identification of advanced, and flow-limiting, epicardial CAD to early stages of atherosclerosis and/or CMD. Adding MBF assessment to myocardial perfusion may also reliably unravel diffuse ischemia owing to significant left main stenosis and/or multivessel CAD, commonly confirmed by peak stress transient ischemic cavity dilation of the left ventricle during maximal vasomotor stress compared to rest on gated PET images. Owing to high spatial and contrast resolution in conjunction with photon-attenuation free myocardial perfusion PET images, PET is preferentially used for CAD detection in advanced obesity and women with pronounced breast habitus. With increasing clinical use of cardiac PET perfusion and MBF assessment, individualized, and image-guided cardiovascular treatment decisions in CAD patients is likely to ensue, while its translation into improved cardiovascular outcome remains to be investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S44-S50
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Coronary microvascular dysfunction
  • Myocardial blood flow
  • Myocardial flow reserve
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment


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