Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography and Thallium-201 SPECT for Detecting Ischaemic Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Patients with Heart Failure

M. Franchini, E. Traversi, G. Cannizzaro, F. Cobelli, M. Pozzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: A diagnosis of ischaemic aetiology of a dilated cardiomyopathy has important therapeutic and prognostic implications. In such patients, abnormal ECG and atypical symptoms limit the usefulness of standard ECG-ergometry in detecting myocardial ischaemia. To assess the values of high-dose dobutamine stress echocardiography and of Thallium-201 SPECT (exercise-reinjection-rest protocol) in differentiating between ischaemic and non-ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy, 37 patients with suspected myocardial ischemia, low ventricular ejection fraction (23±5%) and heart failure were studied. Methods and Results: Coronary artery disease was defined as >50% coronary stenosis in at least one coronary artery. By dobutamine stress echocardiography, ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy was considered present when either an ischaemic response (biphasic response or direct deterioration) or a scar (fixed dyssynergy) was documented in at least two segments. By Thallium-201 SPECT, severe perfusion defects, either reversible (ischaemia) or fixed (scar), in at least two segments were considered markers of ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy. Twenty-three patients had ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy, while 14 had normal coronary arteries. The presence of myocardial ischaemia and/or scar by dobutamine stress echocardiography identified patients with ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 86%. The sensitivity of Thallium-201 SPECT was 92%, its specificity was 69%. Three of the four false positive results occurred in patients with left bundle branch block. Thirty-two patients were concordantly classified by the two techniques (agreement=86%, k=0·73). Conclusion: Both dobutamine stress echocardiography and Thallium-201 SPECT are sensitive techniques for detecting the ischaemic aetiology of dilated cardiomyopathy. The specificity is lower, particularly by SPECT, when left ventricular branch block is present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-115
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Echocardiography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000


  • Congestive heart failure
  • Thallium-201 SPECT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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