The prevalence and predictors of inducible myocardial ischemia among patients referred for radionuclide stress testing

J Nucl Cardiol. 2021 Oct 4. doi: 10.1007/s12350-021-02797-2. Online ahead of print.


Background: The frequency of inducible myocardial ischemia has declined in contemporary stress test cohorts, suggesting a need to re-evaluate its optimal use. To-date, however, a comprehensive analysis of the most potent predictors of myocardial ischemia among cardiac stress test patients has not been conducted.

Methods: We assessed 27,615 patients referred for stress-rest SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2017. Chi-square analysis was used to ascertain the most potent predictors of ischemia.

Results: Among our cohort, CAD status (presence/absence of known CAD), rest left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), and typical angina were the most potent predictors of ischemia. The frequency of ischemia was only 6.6% among patients with an LVEF > 55% but 38.1% for patients with LVEF < 45% (P < 0.001). The frequency of myocardial ischemia was fourfold higher among patients with known CAD vs no known CAD (28.0% vs 6.5%, P < 0.001) and approximately threefold higher among patients with typical angina vs patients with atypical symptoms (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The frequency of myocardial ischemia varies markedly according to the common clinical parameters and is particularly high among patients with known CAD, low LVEF, and typical angina. These observations may be used to develop more cost-effective strategies for referring patients for cardiac stress testing.

Keywords: Myocardial ischemia; SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging; cardiac stress testing; coronary artery disease.