Aim: The objective of this study was to determine whether dopamine transporter (DAT) scintigraphy influences the management of movement disorders in clinically indeterminate cases.
Materials and methods: Seventeen patients (ten women, seven men; age range 44-84 years) with a presumptive diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD) were referred for single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scintigraphy using [(123)I]ioflupane between November 2002 and August 2003. The scintigraphic results, clinical diagnosis, and management intentions pre- and post-examination were recorded.
Results: Of the 17 patients who underwent scintigraphy, two patients on neuroleptic medication exhibited features of PD; one had an abnormal scintigraphic examination that confirmed PD, the other had a negative examination, confirming drug-induced parkinsonism, and these were managed accordingly. Of the other cases, the results of 10 examinations were compatible with PD. Five were reported as being normal, the final diagnoses in this group included: cerebrovascular disease (CVD); early Alzheimer's; provisional clinical diagnosis of generalized movement disorder; and possible Wilson's disease. One patient was felt to have a parkinsonian syndrome despite the normal result (this patient had a positive apomorphine test).
Conclusion: This series illustrates the value of DAT scintigraphy in the management of clinically indeterminate movement disorders at a tertiary referral centre arguing for its use in the initial diagnostic process. However, it is clear that the use of DAT scintigraphy poses significant resource implications. Further evidence should clarify the exact role of DAT scintigraphy in clinically indeterminate cases.