Background: Renal transplant recipients should be screened for coronary artery disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of thallium-201 dipyridamole myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to predict major cardiac events in these patients.
Methods and results: Eighty-two consecutive patients (61 males) in hemodialysis (HD) treatment, awaiting renal transplantation, underwent dipyridamole Tl-201 SPECT for pretransplant risk stratification. SPECT semiquantitative analysis showed a normal perfusion pattern in 52 patients (group A) and fixed defects in 9 (group B). Reversible perfusion defects were found in 21 (group C). Cardiac death, myocadial infarction, and unstable angina were sought as cardiac events. During a follow-up lasting 28.3 +/- 21.6 months, three patients of group A died for a non-cardiac cause. In group C, six patients (28.6%) had a cadiac event: one had a non-q wave myocardial infarction after renal transplantation; five were admitted with unstable angina. No cardiac events were observed in groups A and B (p = 0.0001). SPECT semiquantitative analysis showed that a summed difference score > or = 3 significantly increased the risk of cardiac events (odds ratio 4.5, C.I. 2.5-8.1).
Conclusion: Cardiac events were only observed in HD patients with Tl-201 SPECT dipyridamole reversible defects (group C). A normal pattern or a fixed defect in Tl-201 dipyridamole SPECT in HD patients identified a good long-term prognosis.