The Pacific Heart Institute, affiliated with Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, announced that it recently acquired the new D-SPECT nuclear imaging camera to help doctors enhance the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
The camera, developed by Spectrum Dynamics, utilizes innovative nuclear imaging technology to provide sharper diagnostic images of the heart and measures heart muscle blood flow and function for patients with heart disease or suspected heart problems. The 3D images are available within minutes, according to a hospital spokesman.
Using safe, small amounts of internally administered radioactive materials (radioisotopes) and specialized imaging technology, the computerized camera provides improved sensitivity by collecting a sophisticated roadmap of images that shows blood flow through the heart muscle and heart chambers, doctors said.
This technology is capable of acquiring patient data up to 10 times faster than a conventional sodium iodide-based system and provides clinicians with cardiac flow data.
“The D-SPECT camera’s nuclear imaging technology produces sharper diagnostic images to detect blockages and other significant problems in coronary arteries that we were once not able to attain,” said Dr. Nicole Weinberg, cardiologist at Pacific Heart Institute and Saint John’s. “By being able to more quickly and accurately diagnose heart disease and other heart ailments, we can significantly enhance clinical outcomes.”
The new technology also allows patients to be safely evaluated with a fraction of the radiation dose administered by other invasive and non-invasive X-ray coronary imaging methods and without the use of contrast agents, a known risk for patients with kidney disease, doctors said.
Results of personalized, patient-centered imaging using the D-SPECT allows cardiologists to determine the need for heart catheterization, angioplasty or bypass surgery, or medications for patients with heart disease.
“By having the ability to rapidly assess the effectiveness of prescribed therapies, we have the option of either maintaining the current course of treatment, if effective, or altering it so we can achieve the best possible outcome for the patient,” said Weinberg.

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