Diagnosing heart disease in a patient is an easy task for a seasoned clinician. Knowing the best course of action in every case may not be so clear cut. That is likely to change thanks to a study by Australian researchers.

The study used PET with fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to help make clinical diagnoses and develop treatment strategies for cardiac patients. The results, according to researcher Kevin C. Allman, M.D., senior staff specialist, PET and nuclear medicine department, Royal Prince Alfred hospital in New South Wales, have shown patients have better outcomes when PET is used as part of their diagnosis and that “[it] has the potential to streamline management, reduce cost and improve survival in heart failure patients.”

There are several additional factors aiding in successful outcomes, according to the study. For instance, the study facility had its own onsite cyclotron that produced a ready supply of FDG. The study site also had PET experts on staff, which helped facilitate communication with clinicians.

The results of the Australian study have been published in the April issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (http://jnm.snmjournals.org/cgi/content/full/51/4/505).