ECG-manifest and ECG-silent dipyridamole technetium-99m sestamibi SPET perfusion defects in patients with ischaemic heart disease

Michele Galli, Claudio Marcassa, Enzo Bosimini, Orazio Zoccarato, Fabio Comazzi, Pantaleo Giannuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At dipyridamole myocardial scintigraphy, perfusion defects are seldom backed up by significant ECG changes. This would suggest myocardial blood flow heterogeneity rather than true ischaemia, as the cause of the scintigraphic abnormalities. Electrocardiographic surface mapping has been documented to be more accurate than standard 12-lead ECG in the detection of provoked ischaemia. Thus, to investigate the relationship between ECG changes and perfusion abnormalities, body surface maps were recorded during dipyridamole infusion in 55 subjects (11 normals and 44 patients with ischaemic heart disease) undergoing dipyridamole technetium-99m sestamibi single-photon emission tomography (SPET). All had a normal resting ECG. The extent and severity of the sestamibi defect were quantified. New negative areas in the isointegral maps and rest-dipyridamole map differences > 2 SD from normal limits were considered abnormal. After dipyridamole in normals, neither perfusion defects nor ≤ 1 mm ST segment depression on 12-lead ECG nor new negative areas in isointegral maps occurred. In patients, dipyridamole induced new perfusion defects in 35 (80%) but ST segment depression in only 18 (41%, P <0.001). Of the 35 patients with perfusion defects, 17 (49%, group 1) showed ST segment depression, while the other 18 (51%, group 2) did not. Abnormal body surface maps were found in 100% of group 1 and 88% of group 2 patients (NS). In group 1, the provoked hypoperfusion was of greater extent (P = 0.007) and severity (P = 0.01) and the onset of map abnormalities was significantly earlier (P <0.001) than in group 2; time to map abnormalities was also significantly shorter than time to ST segment depression (P = 0.01). In the 35 patients with complete scintigraphic, body map and angiographic data, the severity of reversible perfusion defect proved to be the strongest correlate of ST segment depression upon logistic regression analysis. Thus, sestamibi SPET abnormalities after dipyridamole are almost always associated with electrical changes on body surface maps, suggesting myocardial ischaemia as their cause. The much less common 12-lead ECG changes are slower to appear and reflect a more severe hypoperfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal Of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Dipyridamole
  • Myocardial ischaemia
  • Technetium-99m sestamibi single-photon emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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