Upward creep of the heart in exercise thallium 201 single photon emission tomography: clinical relevance and a simple correction method

Eur J Nucl Med. 1991;18(3):184-90. doi: 10.1007/BF02262729.


The upward creep of the heart during myocardial single photon emission tomography (SPET) acquisition has been reported as a frequent source of false-positive results. The aim of this study was to simplify the detection and correction of this upward creep and to estimate its clinical relevance during routine patient care. To recognize the upward heart motion a straight line was fitted to the upper and lower border of consecutively displayed tomographic projection images. In this way, vertical translation of at least 1 pixel in size could be detected easily. On the assumption of a slow but continuous upward motion a fast interpolation correction method was developed. From 100 consecutive, supine, ergometric exercise studies, 1, 2 or 3 pixels of upward creep were found in 16, 4 or 3 patients, respectively. It was found that an upward creep of at least 2 pixels (7/100 cases) led to evident, mostly antero-septal defects on quantitative bull's-eyes, whereas only upward creeps of 3 pixels or more (3/100 cases) produced false-positive diagnostic results. The simple correction method offered a sufficient compensation of image and/or bull's-eye artefacts. These clinical findings could be reproduced in a computer model. Thus, it can be stated that clinically significant upward creep of the heart during stress SPET acquisition is relatively rare; it may have been overestimated in the past, and its artificial effects can be corrected by a quick and simple algorithm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Exercise Test
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thallium Radioisotopes
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*


  • Thallium Radioisotopes