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Cardiovascular imaging has largely focused on identifying structural, functional, and metabolic changes in the heart. The ability to reliably assess disease activity would have major potential clinical advantages, including the identification of early disease, differentiating active from stable conditions, and monitoring disease progression or response to therapy. Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging now allows such assessments of disease activity to be acquired in the heart, whereas magnetic resonance (MR) scanning provides detailed anatomic imaging and tissue characterization. Hybrid MR/PET scanners therefore combine the strengths of 2 already powerful imaging modalities. Simultaneous acquisition of the 2 scans also provides added benefits, including improved scanning efficiency, motion correction, and partial volume correction. Radiation exposure is lower than with hybrid PET/computed tomography scanning, which might be particularly beneficial in younger patients who may need repeated scans. The present review discusses the expanding clinical literature investigating MR/PET imaging, highlights its advantages and limitations, and explores future potential applications.
- Journal Article