Objective: To compare regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) changes using 99mTc-hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime (99mTc-HMPAO) SPECT in subjects with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and AD and in normal age-matched control subjects; to examine the utility of SPECT changes in the differential diagnosis of AD and DLB.
Method: Whole-brain SPECT scans were acquired using a single-headed rotating gamma camera (IGE CamStar XR/T) in elderly subjects with consensus criteria DLB (n = 23; mean age = 79.4 years), National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke-Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association AD (n = 50; 81.9 years), and normal control subjects (n = 20; 78.1 years) after injection with 500 MBq of 99mTc-HMPAO. Region-of-interest analysis was performed using a SPECT template registered in Talairach space, with rCBF normalized to cerebellum.
Results: Both DLB and AD subjects had significantly reduced rCBF in parietal and temporal regions compared with the control subjects. The AD group also showed a significant reduction in rCBF in the frontal and medial temporal regions and the DLB in the occipital areas compared with control subjects. AD and DLB groups differed only in occipital perfusion (p < 0.01). SPECT measures (occipital and medial temporal) correctly classified 69% of all subjects, with a 65% sensitivity and 87% specificity for DLB against AD and control subjects.
Conclusion: Temporoparietal hypoperfusion on SPECT is common to both AD and DLB. Occipital hypoperfusion is more frequently seen in DLB. Although not diagnostically specific in individual cases, occipital hypoperfusion on SPECT should raise suspicion that DLB may be the cause of dementia, prompting careful search for other features of the disorder.