Minimal rest activity for SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging in a one-day stress-first protocol

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2019 Jun;46(6):1248-1256. doi: 10.1007/s00259-018-4206-x. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Purpose: Guidelines propose different rest-stress activity ratios (RSAR) for one-day stress-first SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), but evidence is limited. Our aim was to determine and validate the minimal RSAR resulting in the same diagnostic outcome in one-day stress-first SPECT MPI.

Methods: Forty-seven patients referred for rest after stress CZT-SPECT/CT MPI were prospectively included. Rest acquisitions were performed 3 h after stress. In addition to the stress and rest acquisitions, the first 22 patients underwent an additional acquisition prior to the rest injection to determine the remaining stress activity. Next, we simulated six RSARs varying from 1.0 to 3.5 in both patients and a phantom and compared the images to those using the reference RSAR of 4.0. Differences in summed difference score (SDS) >2 or ischemic defect interpretation were considered to significantly influence diagnostic outcome. After deriving the minimal RSAR, it was validated in 25 additional patients by comparing it to a RSAR of 4.0.

Results: After 3 h only 26% of the stress activity was still present in the myocardium. SDS differences >2 were found in one (4%) patient using RSAR of 3.5, 2.5 and 2.0, in three (12%) using 1.5 and in five (20%) using SRAR of 1.0. These results were consistent with the phantom study showing SDS differences >2 for RSARs ≤1.5 and with the visual interpretation which showed an increased number of deviating scans for RSAR 1.0. Validating the RSAR of 2.0 resulted in a different SDS in one patient (SDS of 30 versus 11). Moreover, two scans were interpreted as ischemic instead of normal when using RSAR 2.0 and in two other scans the opposite was the case.

Conclusions: A RSAR of 2.0 in one-day stress-first MPI SPECT seems sufficient to obtain accurate diagnostic outcomes and is therefore recommended to reduce radiation exposure.

Keywords: Activity; Myocardial perfusion imaging: SPECT; One-day protocol; Radiation dose reduction; Stress-only.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Cadmium / chemistry
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Rest
  • Tellurium / chemistry
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*
  • Zinc / chemistry


  • CdZnTe
  • Cadmium
  • Zinc
  • Tellurium