Reduced Myocardial Flow Reserve by Positron Emission Tomography Predicts Cardiovascular Events After Cardiac Transplantation

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Abstract

Background:

We evaluated the diagnostic and prognostic value of quantification of myocardial flow reserve (MFR) with positron emission tomography (PET) in orthotopic heart transplant patients.

Methods and Results:

We retrospectively identified orthotopic heart transplant patients who underwent rubidium-82 cardiac PET imaging. The primary outcome was the composite of cardiovascular death, acute coronary syndrome, coronary revascularization, and heart failure hospitalization. Cox regression was used to evaluate the association of MFR with the primary outcome. The relationship of MFR and cardiac allograft vasculopathy severity in patients with angiography within 1 year of PET imaging was assessed using Spearman rank correlation and logistic regression. A total of 117 patients (median age, 60 years; 71% men) were identified. Twenty-one of 62 patients (34%) who underwent angiography before PET had cardiac allograft vasculopathy. The median time from orthotopic heart transplant to PET imaging was 6.4 years (median global MFR, 2.31). After a median of 1.4 years, 22 patients (19%) experienced the primary outcome. On an unadjusted basis, global MFR (hazard ratio, 0.22 per unit increase; 95% confidence interval, 0.09–0.50; P<0.001) and stress myocardial blood flow (hazard ratio, 0.48 per unit increase; 95% confidence interval, 0.29–0.79; P=0.004) were associated with the primary outcome. Decreased MFR independently predicted the primary outcome after adjustment for other variables. In 42 patients who underwent angiography within 12 months of PET, MFR and stress myocardial blood flow were associated with moderate–severe cardiac allograft vasculopathy (International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation grade 2–3).

Conclusions:

MFR assessed by cardiac rubidium-82 PET imaging is a predictor of cardiovascular events after orthotopic heart transplant and is associated with cardiac allograft vasculopathy severity.

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