Quantitative assessment of myocardial perfusion abnormality on SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging is more reproducible than expert visual analysis

J Nucl Cardiol. 2009 Jan-Feb;16(1):45-53. doi: 10.1007/s12350-008-9018-0. Epub 2009 Jan 20.


Background: Current guidelines of Food and Drug Administration for the evaluation of SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) in clinical trials recommend independent visual interpretation by multiple experts. Few studies have addressed whether quantitative SPECT MPI assessment would be more reproducible for this application.

Methods and results: We studied 31 patients (age 68 +/- 13, 25 male) with abnormal stress MPI who underwent repeat exercise (n = 11) or adenosine (n = 20) MPI within 9-22 months (mean 14.9 +/- 3.8 months) and had no interval revascularization or myocardial infarction and no change in symptoms, stress type, rest or stress ECG, or clinical response to stress on the second study. Visual interpretation per FDA Guidance used 17-segment, 5-point scoring by two independent expert readers with overread of discordance by a third expert, and percent myocardium abnormal was derived from normalized summed scores. The quantitative magnitude of perfusion abnormality was assessed by the total perfusion deficit (TPD), expressing stress, rest, and ischemic perfusion abnormality. High linear correlations were observed between visual and quantitative size of stress, rest, and ischemic defects (R = 0.94, 0.92, 0.84). Correlations of two tests were higher by quantitative than by visual methods for stress (R = 0.97 vs R = 0.91, P = 0.03) and rest defects (R = 0.94 vs R = 0.82, P = 0.03), respectively, and statistically similar for ischemic defects (R = 0.84 vs R = 0.70, P = ns).

Conclusions: In stable patients having serial SPECT MPI, quantification is more reproducible than visual for magnitude of perfusion abnormality, suggesting its superiority for use in randomized clinical trials and monitoring the effects of therapy in an individual patient.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Myocardial Ischemia / complications
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Observer Variation
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / complications
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging*