Sympathetic nervous system plays a pivotal role in essential hypertension and in the development of left ventricular hypertrophy. Moreover, cardiac sympathetic dys-regulation has been demonstrated as a key con-causal factor in the genesis and progression of pathologic conditions such as congestive heart failure and ischemic heart disease to which hypertension predisposes as a risk factor. However, despite its fundamental role in cardiac pathophysiology, the evaluation of cardiac sympathetic nervous system has never gained a wide clinical application, remaining mostly a research tool. In this context, nuclear imaging techniques are the only modalities to allow the direct evaluation of cardiac sympathetic nervous integrity, giving the chance to obtain objective measures of the sympathetic tone. This review, while summarizing the general profile of currently available tests for autonomic evaluation, focuses on 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine nuclear imaging as a preferential tool to assess cardiac sympathetic status. Specifically, the review discusses the available evidence on cardiac 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy in arterial hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy and its diagnostic and prognostic potential in congestive heart failure and ischemic heart disease.
- Arterial hypertension
- Congestive heart failure
- Left ventricular hypertrophy
- Sympathetic nervous system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine