In the decades since, researchers and clinicians have used nuclear medicine to detect and diagnose a host of diseases and disorders.Nuclear medicine’s history originates in the 1920’s, with its first diagnostic application occurring in the field of cardiology.
In 1951 the rectilinear scanner was invented by Benedict Cassen and subsequently used in cardiology to detect pericardial effusion and diagnose pulmonary embolism.
This device was capable of rendering static, life-size images of organs which lacked resolution and did not yield quantitative measurements or volumetric data.
Jeff Holter, the inventor of the Holter monitor to detect cardiac arrhythmias in ambulatory patients, had the idea to found the Society of Nuclear Medicine in 1954.
Two important tools in Nuclear Medicine: the ”scintillation camera” by Hal Anger in 1958 and the commercial development of Technetium-99m in 1960, allowed for the imaging of radiotracers circulating through different portions of the heart in real time.
Among the first uses was the detection of intracardiac shunts, soon followed by the measurements of regional myocardial perfusion and regional ventricular function.