RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Prediction of cardiac events after uncomplicated myocardial infarction: a prospective study comparing predischarge exercise thallium-201 scintigraphy and coronary angiography.

Circulation 1983 August
The ability of predischarge quantitative exercise thallium-201 (201T1) scintigraphy to predict future cardiac events was evaluated prospectively in 140 consecutive patients with uncomplicated acute myocardial infarction; the results were compared with those of submaximal exercise treadmill testing and coronary angiography. High risk was assigned if scintigraphy detected 201T1 defects in more than one discrete vascular region, redistribution, or increased lung uptake, if exercise testing caused ST segment depression greater than or equal to 1 mm or angina or if angiography revealed multivessel disease. Low risk was designated if scintigraphy detected a single-region defect, no redistribution, or no increase in lung uptake, if exercise testing caused no ST segment depression or angina, or if angiography revealed single-vessel disease or no disease. By 15 +/- 12 months, 50 patients had experienced a cardiac event; seven died (five suddenly), nine suffered recurrent myocardial infarction, and 34 developed severe class III or IV angina pectoris. Compared with that of patients at low risk, the cumulative probability of a cardiac event was greater in high-risk patients identified by scintigraphy (p less than .001), exercise testing (p = .011), or angiography (p = .007). Scintigraphy predicted low-risk status better than exercise testing (p = .01) or angiography (p = .05). Each predicted mortality with equal accuracy. However, scintigraphy was more sensitive in detecting patients who experienced reinfarction or who developed class III or IV angina. When all 50 patients with events were combined, scintigraphy identified 47 high-risk patients (94%), whereas exercise-induced ST segment depression or angina detected only 28 (56%) (p less than .001). The presence of multivessel disease as assessed by angiography identified nine more patients with events than exercise testing (p = .06). However, the overall sensitivity of angiography was lower than that of scintigraphy (71% vs 94%; p less than .01) because three patients who experienced reinfarction and 10 who developed class III or IV angina had single-vessel disease. Importantly, 12 (92%) of these 13 patients with single-vessel disease who had an event exhibited redistribution on scintigraphy. These results indicate that (1) submaximal exercise 201T1 scintigraphy can distinguish high- and low-risk groups after uncomplicated acute myocardial infarction before hospital discharge; (2) 201T1 defects in more than one discrete vascular region, presence of delayed redistribution, or increased lung thallium uptake are more sensitive predictors of subsequent cardiac events than ST segment depression, angina, or extent of angiographic disease; and (3) low-risk patients are best identified by a single-region 201T1 defect without redistribution and no increased lung uptake.

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