Diastolic dysfunction in patients with systemic sclerosis detected by gated myocardial perfusion SPECT: an early sign of cardiac involvement

J Nucl Med. 2001 Feb;42(2):183-8.


Diagnosis of cardiac involvement is important for the management of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). This study was undertaken to determine the significance of gated myocardial perfusion SPECT in patients with SSc and whether diastolic function measured by gated SPECT is an early sign of cardiac complications.

Methods: Thirty-four patients with SSc and 16 control patients were studied using exercise nongated and resting gated myocardial perfusion SPECT. The SSc was classified by the modified Rodnan total skin score (TSS) into high-TSS (score > or = 10; n = 18) and low-TSS (score < 10; n = 16) groups. Gated SPECT was performed using 99mTc-methoxyisobutylisonitrile with 16 frames per cardiac cycle and quantitatively analyzed by QGS software and Fourier filtering of the volume curve. The parameters of ejection fraction (EF), peak filling rate (PFR), one-third mean filling rate, and time to PFR (TPFR) were calculated.

Results: A slight perfusion abnormality was observed in four and five patients in the low-TSS and high-TSS groups, respectively (not statistically significant). A decreased resting EF less than 55% was found in no and two patients in the low-TSS and high-TSS groups, respectively. TPFR was 166 +/- 22, 168 +/- 38, and 216 +/- 82 ms (P = 0.05, high-TSS group versus low-TSS group; P = 0.04, control group versus high-TSS group) and TPFR/R-R interval was 0.18 +/- 0.02, 0.19 +/- 0.04, and 0.26 +/- 0.09 (P = 0.01, high-TSS group versus low-TSS group; P = 0.005, control group versus high-TSS group) for the control, low-TSS, and high-TSS groups, respectively.

Conclusion: Diastolic function can be evaluated by gated myocardial perfusion SPECT. Significant diastolic abnormalities were shown even in patients with normal perfusion and systolic function and were related to the severity of SSc.

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Circulation*
  • Diastole*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Diseases / etiology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / physiopathology
  • Stroke Volume
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / etiology


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi