Purpose: 201Tl has been extensively used for myocardial perfusion and viability assessment. Unlike 99mTc-labelled agents, such as 99mTc-sestamibi and 99mTc-tetrofosmine, the regional concentration of 201Tl varies with time. This study is intended to validate a kinetic modelling approach for in vivo quantitative estimation of regional myocardial blood flow (MBF) and volume of distribution of 201Tl using dynamic SPECT.
Methods: Dynamic SPECT was carried out on 20 normal canines after the intravenous administration of 201Tl using a commercial SPECT system. Seven animals were studied at rest, nine during adenosine infusion, and four after beta-blocker administration. Quantitative images were reconstructed with a previously validated technique, employing OS-EM with attenuation-correction, and transmission-dependent convolution subtraction scatter correction. Measured regional time-activity curves in myocardial segments were fitted to two- and three-compartment models. Regional MBF was defined as the influx rate constant (K(1)) with corrections for the partial volume effect, haematocrit and limited first-pass extraction fraction, and was compared with that determined from radio-labelled microspheres experiments.
Results: Regional time-activity curves responded well to pharmacological stress. Quantitative MBF values were higher with adenosine and decreased after beta-blocker compared to a resting condition. MBFs obtained with SPECT (MBF(SPECT)) correlated well with the MBF values obtained by the radio-labelled microspheres (MBF(MS)) (MBF(SPECT) = -0.067 + 1.042 x MBF(MS), p < 0.001). The three-compartment model provided better fit than the two-compartment model, but the difference in MBF values between the two methods was small and could be accounted for with a simple linear regression.
Conclusion: Absolute quantitation of regional MBF, for a wide physiological flow range, appears to be feasible using 201Tl and dynamic SPECT.