The Women's Journal

Cardiac PET/CT: New, Non-Invasive Stress Test GOLD STANDARD

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By Dr. Gaetano Pastore


A cardiac PET/CT scan is a non-invasive scan of the heart used for detecting and diagnosing a wide range of heart conditions including coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathies. Until recently the non-invasive gold standard for the detection of heart disease has been Nuclear SPECT imaging utilizing TC-99 radioactive isotope. While this modality remains the most commonly used in the United States today, PET/CT imaging is quickly becoming the favored modality of some of the best hospitals in the country as well as select private practices. In fact, based on extensive research/study comparing SPECT vs PET/CT imaging the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the Society of Molecular Imaging have concluded that PET/CT should be the preferred method of non-invasive imaging in patients who are unable to walk on a treadmill. 

PET/CT scanning offers the following advantages to SPECT imaging:

  • Higher diagnostic accuracy and confidence
  • Lower radiation exposure
  • Shorter test duration, less than 1 hr. vs 2.5 hrs.
  • Less repeat testing due to higher image clarity
  • Less downstream medical cost – i.e., less likely to require costly invasive procedures   

In addition, PET/CT accurately measures blood flow in each coronary blood vessel providing vital information to allow your cardiologist to tailor treatment that will best suite each individual patient. PET/CT also allows your cardiologist to evaluate the degree of calcium in the individual coronary arteries and generate a calcium score which can assist in predicting a patient’s risk for the development of coronary artery disease. 

Currently, PET/CT imaging can only be done with the administration of an agent to dilate the patient’s arteries to “stress” the heart. New isotopes are being developed, however, and will be available in the near future to allow for the patient to walk/“stress” on a treadmill for those who are able to do so. 

PET stress testing allows us to offer the very best for our patients. Superior test accuracy and patient outcomes, shorter testing time, significantly less radiation exposure and lower downstream costs are just a few of the advantages vs other modalities.

Cardiology Physicians, PA is proud to partner with Molecular Imaging Services, INC to offer ALL patients access to the only private PET/CT scanner in New Castle County! For the last 2 years our patients have benefitted greatly from this new GOLD STANDARD non-invasive test in our comfortable, caring, and professional office setting at the Abby Medical Center in Newark, DE. Please do not hesitate to contact our office at 302-99-HEART to inquire about our PET/CT program and how this may be of potential benefit to you or a loved one in need of advanced heart imaging. 


Dr. Pastore has been a member of Cardiology Physicians, P.A. since July of 1998. He attended Villanova University graduating with honors. He attended the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center of the Pennsylvania State University for his medical degree. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Hahnemann University Hospital and his cardiovascular fellowship at the Hahnemann University Heart Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Pastore has contributed as a co-author on papers that have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine and has presented at the Annual Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology.  

The Christiana Care Family Practice Residency Program has recognized Dr. Pastore as an outstanding teacher/preceptor. He is an active staff member at the Christiana Hospital System. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and served as the Governor of the American College of Cardiology for the state of Delaware. He is currently serving his fourth consecutive year as president of Cardiology Physicians, P.A. He remains an active ACC member with a strong focus on patient advocacy and quality care improvement serving on national physician and patient advocacy committees. Dr. Pastore has a strong commitment to clinical and consultative cardiology with a special interest in echocardiography.  This includes transthoracic, transesophageal, and stress echocardiography.  He has expertise in the interpretation of nuclear imaging in cardiovascular medicine.

Dr. Pastore resides in Avondale, Pennsylvania with his wife Linda and three children.

Cardiogoly Physicians P.A.

Abby Medical Center     302-366-8600     One Centurian Drive, Suite 200    Newark, DE 19713

Foulk & Wilson Professional Center    910 Foulk Road    Wilmington DE 19803

For diagnostic scheduling please call 99 Heart (43278)


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