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Am Heart J. 2006 Apr;151(4):882-9.

Determining myocardial viability in chronic ischemic left ventricular dysfunction: a prospective comparison of rest-redistribution thallium 201 single-photon emission computed tomography, nitroglycerin-dobutamine echocardiography, and intracoronary myocardial contrast echocardiography.

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Department of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.



Detection of viable myocardium (VM) has important therapeutic implications for chronic ischemic left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction. We compared the ability of nitroglycerin-dobutamine echocardiography (NTG-DE), intracoronary myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE), and rest-redistribution thallium 201 single-photon emission computed tomography (RRT-SPECT) to detect VM in this setting.


Patients with LV ejection fraction (LVEF) <40% and multivessel coronary disease suitable for revascularization underwent NTG-DE, MCE, RRT-SPECT, and radionuclide ventriculography to determine baseline LVEF. Myocardial contrast echocardiography was performed using intracoronary injection of Albunex. Patients who underwent revascularization had 3-month postprocedural radionuclide ventriculography and transthoracic echocardiography to assess functional recovery.


Of 512 myocardial segments in the 32 patients studied, 309 were akinetic or dyskinetic at baseline. Nitroglycerin alone increased regional thickening in 20% of segments with contractile reserve. By RRT-SPECT, 93% of nitroglycerin-responsive segments were viable. Myocardial contrast echocardiography had up to 85% sensitivity and 74% specificity for detection of VM diagnosed by RRT-SPECT. In the 23 patients who underwent revascularization, 54% of akinetic segments showed improved contractility, and mean LVEF increased from 32% to 37% (P = .04). Sensitivities and specificities for detecting functional recovery were 95% and 37% for RRT-SPECT, up to 87% and 48% for MCE, and 63% and 83% for a biphasic response during NTG-DE.


In patients with chronic ischemic LV dysfunction, RRT-SPECT had the highest sensitivity, and NTG-DE, the best specificity for detection of VM. Nitroglycerin facilitated detection of VM and may be a useful adjunct to dobutamine stimulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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