The prognostic value of a normal Tc-99m sestamibi SPECT study in suspected coronary artery disease

J Nucl Cardiol. 1999 May-Jun;6(3):252-6. doi: 10.1016/s1071-3581(99)90036-3.


Background: Myocardial perfusion is widely used for risk stratification of patients with suspected or known coronary artery disease (CAD). Recent years have seen an increasing demand for screening of such patients. The value of a normal stress thallium-201 scanning is well established. The advent of technetium 99m-sestamibi single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) has enhanced the profile of nuclear cardiology even further as a reliable test for screening. However, in spite of previous reports, there is paucity of large-scale data regarding the prognostic value of a normal Tc 99m-sestamibi scanning result.

Methods: The aim of our study was to assess the incidence of cardiac death and non-fatal myocardial infarction in patients with an intermediate probability of coronary artery disease (CAD). A total of 473 patients with normal stress Tc-99m-sestamibi SPECT were monitored for 30+/-16 (6 to 56) months to assess serious cardiac events. There were 272 men and 201 women, with a mean age of 56+/-2 years, of whom 89% had symptoms suggestive of CAD, 65% had an abnormal exercise electrocardiography, 6% had known CAD, and 5% had a high risk of CAD. The average workload was 9.14 metabolic equivalents, peak exercise heart rate was 93%+/-13% of the age predicted target.

Results: The annualized mortality rate was 0.2% (95%CI 0.02% to 0.7%) and no infarctions occurred in this group.

Conclusions: A normal stress Tc-99m-sestamibi is highly predictive of a benign outcome, even in patients with intermediate probability of CAD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Circulation
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi