Table 1: Principal characteristics of small animal imaging techniques in cardiovascular research.

Imaging techniquePhysical principleSpatial resolutionAdvantagesDisadvantages

UBMHigh frequency sound waves50 μmReal-time cardiovascular morphofunctional assessmentStrongly operator dependent, difficult assessing of right ventricle
CTX-rays100 μmLeft ventricle morphologyRadiation dose
MRIHigh intensity magnetic field200 μmHigh tissue contrast and functional parametersMost expensive and availability
SPECTGamma emittersMax 0.62 mm FWHMMolecular imaging, myocardial metabolism and perfusion, 10−10-10−11 M sensitivityLow spatial resolution, radiation dose
PETPositron emittersMax 1 mm FWHMMolecular imaging, myocardial metabolism and perfusion, 10−11-10−12 M sensitivityLow spatial resolution, radiation dose

UBM: ultrasound biomicroscopy; CT: computed tomography; MRI: magnetic resonance imaging; SPECT: single-photon emission computed tomography; PET: positron emission tomography; FWHM: full width at half maximum.