Clinical impact of arrhythmias on gated SPECT cardiac myocardial perfusion and function assessment

J Nucl Cardiol. 2001 Jan-Feb;8(1):19-30. doi: 10.1067/mnc.2001.111087.


Background: We reported previously that mean quantified cardiac functional parameters computed by one gated single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) technique were not significantly altered by common gating errors. However, it is not known to what extent other gated SPECT approaches that are based on different ventricular modeling assumptions are influenced by arrhythmias, nor are the effects of gating errors on visual analyses and their subsequent clinical implications known.

Methods: Projection data for 50 patients (aged 64 +/- 12 years; 68% men; 76% with myocardial perfusion defects) undergoing technetium-99m sestamibi gated SPECT who were in sinus rhythm during data acquisition were altered to simulate common arrhythmias. To determine quantitative effects, we performed calculations for original control and altered images by Gaussian myocardial detection (Quantitative Gated SPECT [QGS] program) and by wall thickening derived from gated perfusion polar maps (Emory Cardiac Toolbox program). To evaluate visual assessment in control and simulated-arrhythmia tomograms, 2 experienced blinded observers independently interpreted perfusion from polar maps and wall motion and thickening from tomographic cines, using a 4-point scale.

Results: Although mean functional parameters were scarcely altered, paired t tests showed ejection fraction fluctuations to be significantly different from control values, causing patients to change between abnormal and normal ejection fraction categories (2% of patients by QGS and 14% by Emory Cardiac Toolbox). Visual examination of QGS polar perfusion and function maps showed changes for 72% of cases, although in only 4% were these considered to have potential clinical consequences. The kappa statistic for visual analysis of concordance between control and arrhythmia readings showed that agreement was "excellent" for perfusion, "good" for motion, and "marginal" for thickening.

Conclusions: As with quantitative measurements, thickening is the parameter most prone to error in the presence of arrhythmias. It is important to test data for gating errors to avoid potentially erroneous measurements and visual readings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / complications*
  • Artifacts
  • Coronary Circulation*
  • Coronary Disease / complications
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Stroke Volume
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*
  • Ventricular Function, Left*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi