Reversibility by dipyridamole of thallium-201 myocardial scan defects in patients with sarcoidosis

Am J Med. 1988 Aug;85(2):189-93. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(88)80340-1.


Purpose: In order to clarify the significance of anginal pain and myocardial thallium-201 scan defects in cardiac sarcoidosis, the pharmacologic effect of dipyridamole on myocardial perfusion was assessed by planar thallium-201 myocardial scintigraphy in patients with sarcoidosis.

Patients and methods: Thallium-201 myocardial scintigraphy was performed at rest and after 0.56 mg/kg intravenous dipyridamole during four minutes in 16 patients with sarcoidosis. The myocardial scan (45-degree and 70-degree left anterior oblique, and anterior views) was divided into 15 segments. Results were evaluated by the number of segmental defects and with a global perfusion score (from 0 to 60) by a semi-quantitative index depending on the size and severity of myocardial thallium-201 defects.

Results: Thirteen of the 16 patients showed partial or total reversion of their thallium-201 defects on redistribution scanning either at rest or after dipyridamole. The mean (+/- SD) number of myocardial perfusion defects that were present in all the patients decreased from 5.31 +/- 1.78 at rest to 3.25 +/- 2.52 after redistribution (p less than 0.001) and to 2.19 +/- 2.10 after dipyridamole (p less than 0.001). The mean global perfusion score increased from 53.2 +/- 3.0 at rest to 56.2 +/- 2.9 after redistribution (p less than 0.001) and to 57.2 +/- 2.7 after dipyridamole (p less than 0.001). A significant correlation (r = 0.82, p less than 0.001) was found between the increase of global perfusion score on redistribution and after dipyridamole.

Conclusion: The reversibility of myocardial scan defects is a common finding in sarcoidosis. It makes unlikely the role of scar fibrosis or extensive confluent granulomas as a mechanism for such defects. The effect of dipyridamole suggests the presence of reversible disorders lying at the coronary microvascular level.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cardiomyopathies / physiopathology
  • Coronary Circulation / drug effects*
  • Dipyridamole / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sarcoidosis / physiopathology
  • Thallium Radioisotopes*


  • Thallium Radioisotopes
  • Dipyridamole