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Am J Cardiol. 1990 Aug 15;66(4):406-10.

Usefulness of semiquantitative analysis of dipyridamole-thallium-201 redistribution for improving risk stratification before vascular surgery.

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Department of Medicine (Cardiac Unit), Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University School of Medicine, Boston 02114.


Preoperative dipyridamole-thallium-201 scanning is sensitive in identifying patients prone to ischemic cardiac complications after vascular surgery, but most patients with redistribution do not have an event after surgery. Therefore, its positive predictive value is limited. To determine which patients with thallium redistribution are at highest risk, dipyridamole-thallium-201 images were interpreted semiquantitatively. Sixty-two consecutive patients with redistribution on preoperative dipyridamole-thallium-201 planar imaging studies were identified. Each thallium scan was then analyzed independently by 2 observers for the number of myocardial segments out of 15, the number of thallium views out of 3 and the number of coronary artery territories with redistribution. Seventeen patients (27%) had postoperative ischemic events, including unstable angina pectoris, ischemic pulmonary edema, myocardial infarction and cardiac death. Thallium predictors of ischemic operative complications included thallium redistribution greater than or equal to 4 myocardial segments (p = 0.03), greater than or equal to 2 of the 3 planar views (p = 0.005) and greater than or equal to 2 coronary territories (p = 0.007). No patient with redistribution in only 1 view had an ischemic event (0 of 15). Thus, determining the extent of redistribution by dipyridamole-thallium-201 scanning improves risk stratification before vascular surgery. Patients with greater numbers of myocardial segments and greater numbers of coronary territories showing thallium-201 redistribution are at higher risk for ischemic cardiac complications. In contrast, when the extent of thallium redistribution is limited, there is a lower risk despite the presence of redistribution.

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