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Diagnostic and clinical perspectives of fusion imaging in cardiology: is the total greater than the sum of its parts?

J.J. Bax, R.S. Beanlands, F.J. Klocke, J. Knuuti, A.A. Lammertsma, M.A. Schaefers, H.R Schelbert, G.K. Von Schulthess, L.J. Shaw, Guang-Zhong Yang, P.G. Camici

Journal Article
December, 2005

Introduction: The constant development and refinement of non-invasive cardiac imaging over the past two decades have contributed to change our pathophysiological understanding of many conditions and, clinically, have provided new tools for the identification of pre- clinical disease as well as a better understanding on how disease evolves and reaches its terminal stage. The focus of this brief review is to summarise how positron emission tomography (PET), cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) and multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) have contributed to this process and how their combination (fusion) could further revolutionize cardiology. Obviously, other well established techniques such as echocardiography and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) will continue to play an essential role in clinical practice for patient diagnosis and stratification whereas these more expensive and less available techniques will provide clinicians with new tools for the exploration of very early and very late phases of cardiac diseases. Accordingly, this article is divided into two parts, one dealing with application of these imaging modalities to pre-clinical disease and one concerning the use of these techniques in patients with overt cardiovascular disease.

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