Cardiac sympathetic denervation assessed with 123-iodine metaiodobenzylguanidine imaging predicts ventricular arrhythmias in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patients

Mark J Boogers, C Jan Willem Borleffs, Maureen M Henneman, Rutger J van Bommel, Jan van Ramshorst, Eric Boersma, Petra Dibbets-Schneider, Marcel P Stokkel, Ernst E van der Wall, Martin J Schalij, Jeroen J Bax
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2010 June 15, 55 (24): 2769-77

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether 123-iodine metaiodobenzylguanidine (123-I MIBG) imaging predicts ventricular arrhythmias causing appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy (primary end point) and the composite of appropriate ICD therapy or cardiac death (secondary end point).

BACKGROUND: Although cardiac sympathetic denervation is associated with ventricular arrhythmias, limited data are available on the predictive value of sympathetic nerve imaging with 123-I MIBG on the occurrence of arrhythmias.

METHODS: Before ICD implantation, patients underwent 123-I MIBG and myocardial perfusion imaging. Early and late 123-I MIBG (planar and single-photon emission computed tomography [SPECT]) imaging was performed to assess cardiac innervation (heart-to-mediastinum ratio, cardiac washout rate, and 123-I MIBG SPECT defect score). Stress-rest myocardial perfusion imaging was performed to assess myocardial infarction and perfusion abnormalities (perfusion defect scores). During follow-up, appropriate ICD therapy and cardiac death were documented.

RESULTS: One-hundred sixteen heart failure patients referred for ICD therapy were enrolled. During a mean follow-up of 23 +/- 15 months, appropriate ICD therapy (primary end point) was documented in 24 (21%) patients and appropriate ICD therapy or cardiac death (secondary end point) in 32 (28%) patients. Late 123-I MIBG SPECT defect score was an independent predictor for both end points. Patients with a large late 123-I MIBG SPECT defect (summed score >26) showed significantly more appropriate ICD therapy (52% vs. 5%, p < 0.01) and appropriate ICD therapy or cardiac death (57% vs. 10%, p < 0.01) than patients with a small defect (summed score </=26) at 3-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac sympathetic denervation predicts ventricular arrhythmias causing appropriate ICD therapy as well as the composite of appropriate ICD therapy or cardiac death.

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