There are no standard criteria for the diagnosis of myocardial ischemia in akinetic segments during dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE). The aim of the study was to assess the relation between different responses of akinetic segments during DSE and ischemia assessed by thallium-201 single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Dobutamine-atropine stress echocardiography with simultaneous stress-reinjection thallium-201 SPECT was performed in 67 patients with old myocardial infarction significant and coronary artery stenosis. Fourteen myocardial segments were matched for both DSE and SPECT. Ischemia on SPECT was defined as reversible thallium defects. In 257 akinetic segments, 4 patterns during DSE were identified: (1) biphasic response in 41 segments (16%), defined as improvement at low dose (5 to 10 microgram/kg/min) followed by worsening at high dose; (2) persistent akinesia in 155 segments (60%); (3) akinesia becoming dyskinesia in 39 segments (15%); and (4) sustained improvement in 22 segments (9%). Reversible thallium defects were detected in 21 segments (51%) in group 1, in 20 segments (13%) in group 2, none in group 3, and in 2 segments in group 4 (9%). The prevalence of reversible defects in biphasic segments was higher compared with other patterns (p <0.00001 vs groups 2 and 3, p <0.005 vs group 4). The ischemic perfusion defect score was significantly higher in group 1 than group 2. The positive predictive value of biphasic response for reversible thallium defects was similar to that of stress-induced dyssynergia in normal segments at rest (51% vs 58%). It is concluded that of the various responses of akinetic segments to dobutamine infusion, the biphasic response is associated with the highest prevalence and greatest severity of ischemic on thallium SPECT. Observation of contractile response at both low- and high-dose DSE is a valuable approach for the diagnosis of myocardial ischemia in akinetic segments.