Background: We evaluated whether dobutamine gated blood pool scintigraphy (DOB-GBP) can predict improvement in cardiac sympathetic nerve activity and cardiac function after beta-blocker therapy in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Methods and results: Twenty-two patients with DCM underwent DOB-GBP to measure left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) at rest, and during 5, 10, and 15 microg/kg/min of dobutamine infusion before therapy. Examinations were performed before and after 1 year of therapy. The heart/mediastinum count (H/M) ratio and total defect score (TDS) were determined for 123I-meta-iodobenzylguanidine images from anterior planar image and single-photon emission CT images. LVEF and left ventricular end-diastolic dimension (LVDd) were determined by echocardiography. After 1 year of treatment, the echocardiographic LVEF improved > 5% in 11 patients (group A), but did not improve in the remaining 11 patients (group B). Before treatment, TDS, H/M, LVEF, and LVDd were similar in both groups. However, there was a greater increase in the LVEF during dobutamine infusion in group A than in group B (21 +/- 8% vs 9 +/- 3%, p < 0.001). If a critical value of 15% for the DeltaLVEF was used to predict the improvement in LVEF after treatment, the sensitivity was 91% and specificity was 82%. The TDS, H/M ratio, LVDd, and New York Heart Association functional class improved in group A to a greater extent than in group B.
Conclusions: DOB-GBP can be used to predict improved cardiac sympathetic nerve activity, cardiac function, and symptoms after treatment in patients with DCM.