Background: The ability to track dynamic changes in myocardial blood flow (MBF) and wall motion with serial gated perfusion imaging may be a limiting factor in assessing new therapies. The purpose of this study was to determine whether gated Tc-99 m sestamibi (MIBI) SPECT imaging can track small changes in MBF in a model of progressive ischemia.
Methods: Eight pigs (20 kg) underwent lateral thoracotomy for placement of an ameroid constrictor on the left circumflex coronary artery (LCX) and indwelling femoral and left atrial catheters for serial microsphere determinations of absolute MBF. Animals underwent concurrent left atrial microsphere and Tc-99 m sestamibi (0.3 mCi/Kg IV) injections at weekly intervals over 6 weeks per animal. Gated SPECT imaging was acquired for each injection using high resolution collimation and standard processing. The animals were sacrificed on day 42. Mean signal intensity (SI) from regions of interest (ROI) corresponding to control and ischemic MBF by microspheres was measured for three SPECT short-axis images. Mean contrast ratio (MCR) was calculated from the ratio of ischemic to control SI per slice. Regional wall motion (RWM) from gated images was scored 1-5 using a 16 segment model and a score index (RWMI) was calculated.
Results: MBF decreased progressively (27% below resting values [P < 0.0001]) but with a clear and significant partial recovery by day 42 (13% improvement from peak ischemia, [P < 0.01]). SPECT perfusion and gated RWM closely paralleled the dynamic pattern of MBF caused by the ameroid constrictor. SPECT MCR decreased 21% from baseline scans in the LCX territory (P < 0.0001) and improved 11% from peak ischemia (P < 0.01) while the gated RWMI (1.0 at baseline) peaked at 1.36 and improved to 1.13 by day 42.
Conclusion: Gated SPECT-a technique readily available-tracks dynamic changes in MBF closely with both perfusion and RWM. For trials of new therapies for the alleviation of chronic ischemia, these findings have direct implications for measuring efficacy.