Doctors can use PET for the same purposes as SPECT—to diagnose CHD, check for damaged or dead heart muscle tissue, and check the heart’s pumping strength.

Compared with SPECT, PET takes a clearer picture through thick layers of tissue (such as abdominal or breast tissue). PET also is better at showing whether CHD is affecting more than one of your heart’s blood vessels.

Right now, however, there’s no clear advantage of using one scan over the other in all situations. Research into advances in both SPECT and PET is ongoing.

PET uses different tracers than SPECT.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.