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OBJECTIVES - This work was undertaken to define the intrinsic cardiac risk of the patient population referred for dobutamine stress perfusion imaging and to determine whether dobutamine technetium-99m ((99m)Tc)-sestamibi single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging is capable of risk stratification in this population.
BACKGROUND - In animal models, dobutamine attenuates the myocardial uptake of (99m)Tc-sestamibi resulting in underestimation of coronary stenoses. Therefore, we hypothesized that the prognostic value of dobutamine stress (99m)Tc-sestamibi SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging might be impaired, owing to reduced detection of coronary stenoses.
METHODS - We reviewed the clinical outcome of 308 patients (166 women, 142 men) who underwent dobutamine stress SPECT (99m)Tc-sestamibi imaging at our institution from September 1992 through December 1996.
RESULTS - During an average follow-up of 1.9 +/- 1.1 years, there were 33 hard cardiac events (18 myocardial infarctions [MI] and 15 cardiac deaths) corresponding to an annual cardiac event rate of 5.8%/year, which is significantly higher than the event rate for patients referred for exercise SPECT imaging at our institution (2.2%/year). Event rates were higher after an abnormal dobutamine (99m)Tc-sestamibi SPECT study (10.0%/year) than after a normal study (2.3%/year) (p < 0.01), even after adjusting for clinical variables. In the subgroup (n = 29) with dobutamine-induced ST-segment depression and abnormal SPECT imaging, the prognosis was poor, with annual cardiac death and nonfatal MI rates of 7.9% and 13.2%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS - Patients referred for dobutamine perfusion imaging are a high-risk population, and dobutamine stress (99m)Tc-sestamibi SPECT imaging is capable of risk stratification in these patients.