The potential for myocardial imaging with hypoxia markers

Semin Nucl Med. 1999 Oct;29(4):330-8. doi: 10.1016/s0001-2998(99)80020-8.


Direct "hot spot" imaging of myocardial tissue hypoxia is potentially of great clinical importance because available noninvasive approaches for the detection of myocardial ischemia have generally been based on the detection of flow heterogeneity or identification of regional alterations of myocardial metabolism. These existing approaches provide only an indirect assessment of regional myocardial ischemia, and may be affected by either sympathetic activation or substrate availability. The assessment of tissue oxygenation with hypoxic compounds may be the best indicator of the balance of flow and oxygen consumption. These compounds may provide a means of identifying dysfunctional chronically ischemic but viable "hibernating" myocardium and find a critical place in the assessment of angiogenesis. Nitroimidazole compounds hold promise for positive imaging of hypoxia in the heart. However, refinement of these compounds is needed to improve target specificity. The potential of technetium-99m (Tc99m) complexes derived from removal of the nitroimidazole moiety from a nitroimidazole-containing ligand is interesting and warrants further investigation. Experimental studies support the possibility of identifying myocardial hypoxia with the positron-emitting compound F18-fluoromisonidazole noninvasively. The potential of a Tc99m labeled nitroimidazole for positive imaging of myocardial ischemia is tremendous because single-photon imaging is more widely available. The true clinical potential of these nitroimidazole compounds can only be defined with future experimental and clinical studies. Ideally, these studies should include comparisons of tracer uptake with independent measures of regional ischemia or measures of oxygen tension, potentially using magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Misonidazole
  • Myocardial Stunning / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nitroimidazoles*
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*


  • Nitroimidazoles
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • BMS 181321
  • Misonidazole