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Arq Bras Cardiol. 2010 Mar;94(3):308-12, 328-32.

Effects of short-term carvedilol on the cardiac sympathetic activity assessed by 123I-MIBG scintigraphy.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, RJ, Brazil.



Autonomic alterations in heart failure are associated with an increase in morbimortality. Several noninvasive methods have been employed to evaluate the sympathetic function, including the Meta-Iodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) scintigraphy imaging of the heart.


to evaluate the cardiac sympathetic activity through 123I-MIBG scintigraphy, before and after three months of carvedilol therapy in patients with heart failure and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) < 45%.


Sixteen patients, aged 56.3 +/- 12.6 years (11 males), with a mean LVEF of 28% +/- 8% and no previous use of beta-blockers were recruited for the study. Images of the heart innervation were acquired with 123I-MIBG, and the serum levels of catecholamines (epinephrine, dopamine and norepinephrine) were measured; the radioisotope ventriculography (RIV) was performed before and after a three-month therapy with carvedilol.


Patients' functional class showed improvement: before the treatment, 50% of the patients were FC II and 50% were FC III. After 3 months, 7 patients were FC I (43.8%) and 9 were FC II (56.2%), (p = 0.0001). The mean LVEF assessed by RIV increased from 29% to 33% (p = 0.017). There was no significant variation in cardiac adrenergic activity assessed by 123I-MIBG (early and late resting images and washout rate). No significant variation was observed regarding the measurement of catecholamines.


The short-term treatment with carvedilol promoted the clinical and LVEF improvement. However, this was not associated to an improvement in the cardiac adrenergic activity, assessed by 123I-MIBG scintigraphy, as well as the measurement of circulating catecholamines.

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