Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine how frequently and for what reasons the addition of electrocardiographically gated technetium-99m (Tc-99m) sestamibi single-photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) images add value to nongated SPECT perfusion images.
Background: Electrocardiographic gating of Tc-99m sestamibi SPECT images permits assessment of regional and global left ventricular function and may assist in differentiating attenuation artifacts from myocardial scar.
Methods: A total of 285 consecutive patients (143 women and 142 men; mean age 57.6 +/- 11.5 years) underwent gated SPECT Tc-99m sestamibi imaging (212 with exercise, 63 with dipyridamole and 10 with dobutamine). The conventional stress and rest tomograms were interpreted first by means of a 14-segment scoring system, and then the studies were reinterpreted while the gated images were viewed.
Results: In the total group of 285 patients, the number of "borderline" interpretations was reduced from 89 to 29. In the 137 patients with a < or = 10% pretest likelihood of coronary artery disease, the addition of gated images added significantly to the percentage of interpretations that were designated "normal" (74% [101 of 137] vs. 93% [127 of 137], p < 0.0001), due to a reduction in borderline normal and borderline abnormal readings. In 49 patients with a previous infarction or recent angiography with > or = 70% stenosis, or both, the addition of gated images changed the percentage of "abnormal" scan interpretations from 78% (38 of 49) to 92% (45 of 49). This result was not significant (p = 0.09, two-tailed), but the trend was toward a greater number of unequivocal abnormal interpretations in this subgroup.
Conclusions: The addition of electrocardiographically gated Tc-99m sestamibi SPECT images to the reading of stress and rest perfusion images alone resulted in shifting the final scan interpretations to a more normal designation in patients with a low pretest likelihood of coronary artery disease, and to more abnormal defects consistent with coronary artery disease in patients with known coronary artery disease. The number of "borderline normal" and "borderline abnormal" interpretations are significantly reduced when gated SPECT images are interpreted simultaneously with stress and rest perfusion images.