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PurposeNuclear cardiology is widely used to diagnose coronary artery disease and to guide patient management, but data on current practices, radiation dose-related best practices, and radiation doses are scarce. To address these issues, the IAEA conducted a worldwide study of nuclear cardiology practice. We present the European subanalysis.MethodsIn March 2013, the IAEA invited laboratories across the world to document all SPECT and PET studies performed in one week. The data included age, gender, weight, radiopharmaceuticals, injected activities, camera type, positioning, hardware and software. Radiation effective dose was calculated for each patient. A quality score was defined for each laboratory as the number followed of eight predefined best practices with a bearing on radiation exposure (range of quality score 0 - 8). The participating European countries were assigned to regions (North, East, South, and West). Comparisons were performed between the four European regions and between Europe and the rest-of-the-world (RoW).ResultsData on 2,381 European patients undergoing nuclear cardiology procedures in 102 laboratories in 27 countries were collected. A cardiac SPECT study was performed in 97.9 % of the patients, and a PET study in 2.1 %. The average effective dose of SPECT was 8.0 ± 3.4 mSv (RoW 11.4 ± 4.3 mSv; P ConclusionIn Europe, the mean effective dose from nuclear cardiology is lower and the average quality score is higher than in the RoW. There is regional variation in effective dose in relation to the best practice quality score. A possible reason for the differences between Europe and the RoW could be the safety culture fostered by actions under the Euratom directives and the implementation of diagnostic reference levels. Stress-only imaging and weight-adjusted activity might be targets for optimization of European nuclear cardiology practice.

Original publication




Journal article


European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging

Publication Date





718 - 728


Institute of Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Heart and Diabetes Center North Rhine-Westphalia Bochum, University Hospital of the Ruhr University, Georgstr. 11, 32545, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.


INCAPS Investigators Group, Positron-Emission Tomography, Radiation Dosage, Cardiology, Nuclear Medicine, European Union, Societies, Scientific, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Cardiac Imaging Techniques