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SPECT/CT with 99m Tc-sestamibi for the evaluation of skeletal muscle perfusion after electrical muscle stimulation in athletes

Beatriz Birelli, Mauricio Oliveira, Allan de Oliveira Santos, Willians Manso, Andreia Vicente, Elba Etchebehere
Radiologia Brasileira 2019, 52 (2): 92-96

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) on muscles, using 99m Tc-sestamibi SPECT/CT.

Materials and Methods: We prospectively enrolled 20 consecutive male professional water polo players. The mean age was 25 years (range, 18-36 years). All athletes underwent 99m Tc-sestamibi SPECT/CT of the thigh (rectus femoris and vastus medialis muscle groups) before and after EMS. Images were quantified to identify increases in perfusion after EMS.

Results: Before EMS, there were no significant differences between the right and left thigh (rectus femoris and vastus medialis muscles) in terms of perfusion ( p = 0.4). However, the comparison between the pre- and post-EMS analyses of the same muscle groups showed significant differences in radiotracer uptake ( p < 0.001), with a mean increase in perfusion of 128% for the rectus femoris muscle group (95% CI: 0.86-1.61) and 118% for the vastus medialis muscle group (95% CI: 0.96-1.79).

Conclusion: 99m Tc-sestamibi SPECT/CT is an objective means of evaluating blood flow in muscles submitted to EMS, which appears to promote significant increases in such blood flow.


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