Exercise myocardial perfusion SPECT in patients without known coronary artery disease: Incremental prognostic value and use in risk stratification

Rory Hachamovitch, Daniel S. Berman*, Hosen Kiat, Ishac Cohen, J. Arthur Cabico, John Friedman, George A. Diamond

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    779 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: We evaluated the incremental prognostic value, the role in risk stratification, and the impact on patient management of myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) in a population of patients without prior myocardial infarction, catheterization, or revascularization. Methods and Results: We examined 2200 consecutive patients who at the time of their dual-isotope SPECT had not undergone catheterization, coronary artery bypass surgery, or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and had no known history of previous myocardial infarction. Follow-up was performed at a mean of 566±142 days (97% complete) for hard events (cardiac death and myocardial infarction) and for referral to cardiac catheterization or revascularization within 60 days after nuclear testing. Examination of clinical, exercise, and nuclear models by use of pre- exercise tolerance test (ETT), post-ETT, and nuclear information using a stepwise Cox proportional hazards model and receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis revealed that nuclear testing added incremental prognostic value after inclusion of the most predictive clinical and exercise variables (global χ2 = 12 for clinical variables: 31 for clinical+exercise variables; 169 for nuclear variables: gain in χ2, P<.0001 for all; receiver operating characteristic areas: 0.66±0.04 for clinical, 0.73±0.04 for clinical + exercise variables. 0.87±0.03 for nuclear variables, P=.03 for gain in area with exercise variables; P<.001 for increase with nuclear variables). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that scan information contributed 95% of the information regarding referral to catheterization with further additional information provided by presenting symptoms and exercise- induced ischemia. Referral rates to early catheterization and revascularization paralleled the hard event rates in all scan categories- very low referral rates in patients with normal scans and significant increases in referral rates as a function of worsening scan results. Even after stratification by clinical and exercise variables such as the Duke treadmill score, pre- and post-ETT likelihood of coronary artery disease, presenting symptoms, sex, and age, the nuclear scan results further risk- stratified the patient subgroups, thus demonstrating clinical incremental value. Conclusions: In a patient population with no evidence of previous coronary artery disease at overall low risk (1.8% hard event rate), myocardial perfusion SPECT adds incremental prognostic information and risk- stratifies patients even after clinical and exercise information is known. It appears that referring physicians use this test in an appropriate manner in selecting patients to be referred to catheterization or revascularization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)905-914
    Number of pages10
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1996


    • perfusion
    • prognosis
    • sestamibi
    • tomography


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