13N-ammonia myocardial blood flow and uptake: relation to functional outcome of asynergic regions after revascularization

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1999 Mar;33(3):678-86. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(98)00630-5.


Objectives: In this study we determined whether 13N-ammonia uptake measured late after injection provides additional insight into myocardial viability beyond its value as a myocardial blood flow tracer.

Background: Myocardial accumulation of 13N-ammonia is dependent on both regional blood flow and metabolic trapping.

Methods: Twenty-six patients with chronic coronary artery disease and left ventricular dysfunction underwent prerevascularization 13N-ammonia and 18F-deoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography, and thallium single-photon emission computed tomography. Pre- and postrevascularization wall-motion abnormalities were assessed using gated cardiac magnetic resonance imaging or gated radionuclide angiography.

Results: Wall motion improved in 61 of 107 (57%) initially asynergic regions and remained abnormal in 46 after revascularization. Mean absolute myocardial blood flow was significantly higher in regions that improved compared to regions that did not improve after revascularization (0.63+/-0.27 vs. 0.52+/-0.25 ml/min/g, p < 0.04). Similarly, the magnitude of late 13N-ammonia uptake and FDG uptake was significantly higher in regions that improved (90+/-20% and 94+/-25%, respectively) compared to regions that did not improve after revascularization (67+/-24% and 71+/-25%, p < 0.001 for both, respectively). However, late 13N-ammonia uptake was a significantly better predictor of functional improvement after revascularization (area under the receiver operating characteristic [ROC] curve = 0.79) when compared to absolute blood flow (area under the ROC curve = 0.63, p < 0.05). In addition, there was a linear relationship between late 13N-ammonia uptake and FDG uptake (r = 0.68, p < 0.001) as well as thallium uptake (r = 0.76, p < 0.001) in all asynergic regions.

Conclusions: These data suggest that beyond its value as a perfusion tracer, late 13N-ammonia uptake provides useful information regarding functional recovery after revascularization. The parallel relationship among 13N-ammonia, FDG, and thallium uptake supports the concept that uptake of 13N-ammonia as measured from the late images may provide important insight regarding cell membrane integrity and myocardial viability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ammonia* / pharmacokinetics
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Coronary Circulation*
  • Coronary Disease / metabolism
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Disease / surgery
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / pharmacokinetics
  • Gated Blood-Pool Imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Revascularization*
  • Nitrogen Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics
  • ROC Curve
  • Stroke Volume / physiology
  • Thallium Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / metabolism
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / physiopathology*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / surgery


  • Nitrogen Radioisotopes
  • Thallium Radioisotopes
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Ammonia