Heterogeneity of regional nitrogen 13-labeled ammonia tracer distribution in the normal human heart: Comparison with rubidium 82 and copper 62-labeled PTSM

Rob S.B. Beanlands, Otto Muzik, Gary D. Hutchins, Edwin R. Wolfe, Markus Schwaiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Background: Recent reports on13N-labeled ammonia (13N-ammonia) positron emission tomographic (PET) imaging have suggested a relative reduction of measured tracer activity in the posterolateral wall. Such inhomogeneity of tracer distribution could potentially affect accuracy for detection of disease. The aim of this study was to compare the regional distribution of13N-ammonia with82Rb and62Cu-labeled PTSM (62Cu-PTSM) to identify tracer-specific patterns that may be important in the clinical interpretation of cardiac flow studies. Methods and Results: Twenty-eight healthy volunteers underwent PET imaging at rest with either13N-ammonia (n=14),82Rb (n=8), or62Cu-PTSM (n=6). Eight subjects given13N-ammonia also underwent imaging after adenosine. Activity measured in the posterolateral wall on transaxial images was significantly lower than in the septum for13N-ammonia, both at rest (p<0.005) and after adenosine (p<0.05). No differences were detected for82Rb or62Cu-PTSM. The septum/posterolateral wall activity ratios for13N-ammonia,82Rb, and62Cu-PTSM were 1.15±0.07, 1.00±0.06, and 0.97±0.08, respectively (p<0.001). Regional analysis of image data showed the percent of maximal activity data for13N-ammonia in the lateral wall to be less than that of other regions (p<0.001) and in the inferior wall to be greater than in the anterior and lateral walls (p<0.001). For62Cu-PTSM, activity in the inferior wall was greater than that in other regions (p<0.005). No regional differences were detected for82Rb. Conclusions: The relatively increased wall activity with13N-ammonia and62Cu-PTSM is most likely due to cross-contamination of activity from the liver. The significant reduction in activity in the lateral wall with13N-ammonia, which persists after adenosine, is most likely related to regional heterogeneity in13N-ammonia retention and may reflect regional differences in metabolic-trapping mechanisms for13N-ammonia. Further investigation is required to elucidate the underlying mechanism of this phenomenon. Reduced tracer retention in the lateral wall segment as a normal variant must be considered when evaluating clinical13N-ammonia PET studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-235
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nuclear Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • copper 62-labeled PTSM
  • myocardium
  • nitrogen 13-labeled ammonia
  • positron emission tomography
  • retention
  • rubidium 82

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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