Positron emission tomography detects evidence of viability in rest technetium-99m sestamibi defects

Stephen G. Sawada, Kevin C. Allman, Otto Muzik, Rob S.B. Beanlands, Edwin R. Wolfe, Milton Gross, Lorraine Fig, Markus Schwaiger

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Objectives. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative value of single-photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) imaging at rest using technetium-99m methoxyisobutyl isonitrile (technetium-99m sestamibi) with positron emission tomography for detection of viable myocardium. Background. Recent studies comparing positron emission tomography and thallium-201 reinjection with rest technetium-99m sestamibi imaging have suggested that the latter technique underestimates myocardial viability. Methods. Twenty patients with a previous myocardial infarction underwent rest technetium-99m sestamibi imaging and positron emission tomography using fluorine (F)-18 deoxyglucose and nitrogen (N)-13 ammonia. In each patient, circumferential profile analysis was used to determine technetium-99m sestamibi, F-18 deoxyglucose and N-13 ammonia activity (expressed as percent of peak activity) in nine cardiac segments and in the perfusion defect defined by the area having technetium-99m sestamibi activity <60%. Technetium-99m sestamibi defects were graded as moderate (50% to 59% of peak activity) and severe (<50% of peak activity). Estimates of perfusion defect size were compared between technetium-99m sestamibi and N-13 ammonia. Results. Sixteen (53%) of 30 segments with moderate defects and 16 (47%) of 34 segments with severe defects had ≥60% F-18 deoxyglocose activity considered indicative of viability. Fluorine-18 deoxyglucose evidence of viability was still present in 50% of segments with technetium-99m sestamibi activity <40%. There was no significant difference in the mean (± SD) technetium-99m sestamibi activity in segments with viable (40 ± 7%) and nonviable segments (49 ± 7%, p = 0.84). Of the 18 patients who had adequate F-18 deoxyglucose studies, the area of the technetium-99m sestamibi defect was viable in 5 (28%). In 16 patients (80%), perfusion defect size determined by technetium-99m sestamibi exceeded that measured by N-13 ammonia. The difference in defect size between technetium-99m sestamibi and N-13 ammonia was significantly greater in patients with viable (21 ± 9%) versus nonviable segments (7 ± 9%, p = 0.007). Conclusions. Moderate and severe rest technetium-99m sestamibi defects frequently have metabolic evidence of viability. Technetium-99m sestamibi SPECT yields larger perfusion defects than does N-13 ammonia positron emission tomography when the same threshold values are used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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