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Am Heart J. 1994 Apr;127(4 Pt 1):804-16.

Does myocardial perfusion scintigraphy demonstrate clinical usefulness in patients with markedly positive exercise tests? An assessment of the method in a high-risk subset.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.


To evaluate the clinical utility of perfusion scintigraphy in patients with markedly positive exercise ECGs, we studied 94 consecutive patients with markedly positive exercise ECGs; 74 of them were also studied with scintigraphy. Patients undergoing scintigraphy had an intermediate pretest likelihood of coronary disease and were divided into two groups: those with reversible defects involving one complete area or aspects of multiple vascular areas (group 1, 38 patients), and those with normal scintigrams and reversible defects in a limited aspect of one vascular area, isolated fixed defects, or both (group 2, 36 patients). Among all demographic and exercise variables, only a hypotensive or blunted blood pressure response and scintigraphic lung uptake or cavitary dilation, although insensitive, were more frequent in group 1 (all p < 0.05). All 36 patients in group 1 and 14 of 18 in group 2 who underwent coronary angiography had significant coronary lesions; 31 in group 1 but only seven in group 2 had multivessel disease (p < 0.05). Subsequently 32 patients in group 1 had revascularization compared with only two patients in group 2. Only one cardiac event was noted among 34 patients in group 2 who were followed for a mean of 38 months while they were being treated medically. However, four of nine patients in group 1 initially treated medically required late revascularization because of clinical progression of disease, and one patient died (p < 0.05). Compared with patients having scintigraphy, patients not imaged had a higher pretest likelihood of coronary disease, a higher incidence of angina, unstable angina, and induced angina, with a lower exercise time and time to ST depression (p < 0.05). All underwent angiography, and 16 had multivessel disease. Not all patients with markedly positive exercise ECGs were at similarly high coronary risk. Some with high-risk coronary anatomy were identified without the use of scintigraphy. In others, where diagnosis and prognosis were less clear, scintigraphy aided in the diagnosis and accurately identified a low-risk subgroup as did no other parameter.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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