Cardiac sympathetic denervation in Parkinson's disease patients with SWEDDs

Neurol Sci. 2013 Aug;34(8):1375-82. doi: 10.1007/s10072-012-1244-1. Epub 2012 Nov 24.


Dopamine transporter scans of some patients who have been clinically diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) fail to reveal abnormal dopaminergic functioning and are referred to as scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficits (SWEDDs). In this study, we investigated the differences between SWEDDs patients and PD patients using (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scans. This study enrolled 20 patients with SWEDDs, 30 patients with early PD and 50 healthy controls. Cardiac (123)I-MIBG scans were performed on all subjects, and parameters including the early and delayed heart-to-mediastinum ratios (H/M) and the washout rate were compared among the three groups. The mean delayed H/M ratio in the PD group (mean ± standard deviation, 1.45 ± 0.23) was the lowest of the three groups, and the scans in the group without evidence of dopaminergic deficits exhibited a lower mean delayed H/M ratio (2.15 ± 0.48) than the control group (2.56 ± 0.55) (p < 0.05). The intermediate status of cardiac MIBG uptake in the SWEDDs patients in our study may have been due to the heterogeneity of the SWEDDs patients; some of these patients had Parkinsonism with unknown characteristics, some may have had early PD with false-negative dopamine transporter imaging, and some have had primary dystonia that was misdiagnosed as PD. These uncharacterised SWEDDs patients accounted for a larger proportion of the heterogeneous SWEDDs than observed in previous studies, but our results suggest that cardiac (123)I-MIBG scans may help to differentiate patients with SWEDDs from patients with PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine / administration & dosage
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / analysis*
  • Female
  • Heart / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / administration & dosage
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / pathology*


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine