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Technetium-99M Complexes for Cardiac Imaging

Before cardiologists can treat heart attack survivors and others suffering from heart disease, they need to know the condition of the heart. Radioactive imaging gives physicians a noninvasive way to distinguish between functional and nonfunctional heart tissue.
A radioactive form of technetium, technetium-99m or 99mTc, is superior for medical imaging. This radioisotope is readily available, and its short half-life reduces handling problems and patient exposure. Drs. Edward A. Deutsch and Kenneth A. Glavan developed complexes of 99mTc that are positively charged and strongly attracted to mitochondria, cellular organelles that are abundant in functional heart tissue. Technetium-based agents produce clearer and more sensitive images than those obtained with thallium-201, allowing for a better assessment of the heart.
Products by U.S. companies containing 99mTc complexes for cardiac imaging include Cardiolite®, made by DuPont Pharma (now owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging Inc.); and Myoview™, developed by Amersham International, plc. Miraluma®. Products containing 99mTc complexes for breast cancer imaging are also sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging.