Increased Prognostic Value of Combined Myocardial Perfusion SPECT Imaging and the Quantification of Lung Tl-201 Uptake

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Purpose The authors wanted to identify those patients assessed by exercise SPECT in whom the quantification of lung Tl-201 uptake helps to evaluate disease prognosis.Methods One hundred forty-nine patients (114 men, 35 women; 74 after myocardial infarction [MI]; mean age, 54 ± 9 years) underwent exercise Tl-201 SPECT. The SPECT patterns were divided into normal (n = 45), fixed defects (n = 29), and inducible ischemia (n = 75). Anterior planar imaging was performed before SPECT acquisition to calculate the lung-to-heart ratio (L:H).Results During an average follow-up of 20 ± 9 months, eight patients had died of cardiac causes and 13 patients experienced nonfatal MIs. Among the 45 patients with normal perfusion, no cardiac event was observed and the L:H ratio was not helpful for risk stratification. In 29 patients with fixed defects, four cardiac deaths occurred (all in patients with L:H ratios >0.5; annual event rate, 21.1% for L:H ratios >0.5 compared with 0% for L:H ratios <0.5; chi-square = 4.07, P < 0.05). Among the 75 patients with ischemia, 4 died and 13 had nonfatal MIs (annual event rate, 15.4% for L:H ratios >0.5 compared with 13% for L:H ratios <0.5; P = NS).Conclusions These findings suggest a benign prognosis in patients with normal SPECT (regardless of the L:H ratio). Conversely, all patients with ischemia are at high risk for future cardiac events. Quantification of the Tl-201 lung uptake seems to be valuable in evaluations of disease prognosis, especially in patients with fixed defects.

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