I-123-mIBG myocardial imaging for assessment of risk for a major cardiac event in heart failure patients: insights from a retrospective European multicenter study

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2008 Mar;35(3):535-46. doi: 10.1007/s00259-007-0639-3. Epub 2007 Nov 28.


Purpose: Single-center experiences have shown that myocardial meta-iodobenzylguanidine (mIBG) uptake has prognostic value in heart failure (HF) patients. To verify these observations using a rigorous clinical trial methodology, a retrospective review and prospective quantitative reanalysis was performed on a series of cardiac (123)I-mIBG scans acquired during a 10-year period at six centers in Europe.

Methods: (123)I-mIBG scans obtained on 290 HF patients [(262 with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) < 50%)] from 1993 to 2002 were reanalyzed using a standardized methodology to determine the heart-to-mediastinum ratio (H/M) on delayed planar images. All image results were verified by three independent reviewers. Major cardiac events [MCEs; cardiac death, cardiac transplant, potentially fatal arrhythmia (including implantable cardioverter-defibrillator discharge)] during 24-month follow-up were confirmed by an adjudication committee.

Results: MCEs occurred in 67 patients (26%): mean H/M ratio was 1.51 +/- 0.30 for the MCE group and 1.97 +/- 0.54 for the non-MCE group (p < 0.001). Two-year event-free survival using an optimum H/M ratio threshold of 1.75 was 62% for H/M ratio less than 1.75, 95% for H/M ratio greater than or equal to 1.75 (p < 0.0001). Logistic regression showed H/M ratio and LVEF as the only significant predictors of MCE. Using the lower and upper H/M quartiles of 1.45 and 2.17 as high- and very low-risk thresholds, 2-year event-free survival rates were 52% and 98%, respectively. Among patients with LVEF < or = 35% and H/M > or = 1.75 (n = 73), there were nine MCEs because of progressive HF and only one because of an arrhythmia.

Conclusion: Application of a clinical trial methodology via the retrospective reanalysis of (123)I-mIBG images confirms the previously reported prognostic value of this method in HF patients, including potential identification of a quantitative threshold for low risk for cardiac mortality and potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Europe
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine