Area at risk can be assessed by iodine-123-meta-iodobenzylguanidine single-photon emission computed tomography after myocardial infarction: a prospective study

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Myocardial salvage is an important surrogate endpoint to estimate the impact of treatments in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).


The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between cardiac sympathetic denervation area assessed by single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) using iodine-123-meta-iodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) and myocardial area at risk (AAR) assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) (gold standard).

Patients and methods

A total of 35 postprimary reperfusion STEMI patients were enrolled prospectively to undergo SPECT using 123I-MIBG (evaluates cardiac sympathetic denervation) and thallium-201 (evaluates myocardial necrosis), and to undergo CMR imaging using T2-weighted spin-echo turbo inversion recovery for AAR and postgadolinium T1-weighted phase sensitive inversion recovery for scar assessment.


123I-MIBG imaging showed a wider denervated area (51.1±16.0% of left ventricular area) in comparison with the necrosis area on thallium-201 imaging (16.1±14.4% of left ventricular area, P<0.0001). CMR and SPECT provided similar evaluation of the transmural necrosis (P=0.10) with a good correlation (R=0.86, P<0.0001). AAR on CMR was not different compared with the denervated area (P=0.23) and was adequately correlated (R=0.56, P=0.0002). Myocardial salvage evaluated by SPECT imaging (mismatch denervated but viable myocardium) was significantly higher than by CMR (P=0.02).


In patients with STEMI, 123I-MIBG SPECT, assessing cardiac sympathetic denervation may precisely evaluate the AAR, providing an alternative to CMR for AAR assessment.

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