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About 4% of children with Kawasaki disease ultimately develop ischaemic heart disease. Therefore, the early detection, non-invasive monitoring and long-term follow-up of myocardial ischaemia are essential. We compared the sensitivity and specificity of 201Tl single photon emission tomography (SPET) and treadmill exercise in the detection of myocardial ischaemia in 23 patients (19 boys, 4 girls) with Kawasaki disease. They were divided into two groups according to the results of coronary angiography. Group I consisted of 11 patients with coronary abnormalities; Group II consisted of 12 patients with no coronary abnormalities. The sensitivity, specificity, false-positive and false-negative rates for detecting coronary arterial lesions were 72.7% (8/11), 58.3% (7/12), 38.5% (5/13) and 30% (3/10) for 201Tl SPET, and 45.5% (5/11), 100% (12/12), 0% (0/5) and 33.3% (6/18) for treadmill exercise, respectively. We conclude that 201Tl SPET is more sensitive than treadmill exercise for the detection of coronary arterial abnormalities, but that the specificity of treadmill exercise is better than that of 201Tl scintigraphy. Coronary artery lesions detected by coronary angiography have good concordance of ischaemic areas with perfusion defects detected by 201Tl SPET. When ischaemic findings on 201Tl SPET and/or positive treadmill exercise testing are noted, coronary angiography is strongly indicated to detect possible stenotic lesions in the coronary arteries.