123I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy as a noninvasive screen for the diagnosis of coronary artery spasm

J W Ha, J D Lee, Y Jang, N Chung, J Kwan, S J Rim, Y J Lee, W H Shim, S Y Cho, S S Kim
Journal of Nuclear Cardiology 1998, 5 (6): 591-7

BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that the sympathetic nervous system might play an important role in the development of coronary artery spasm. However, no cardiac imaging modality has been able to demonstrate abnormal sympathetic innervation in patients with coronary artery spasm. The purpose of this study was to assess the presence and location of abnormal sympathetic innervation using iodine 123-metaiodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and to evaluate the clinical efficacy of 123I-MIBG SPECT as a noninvasive screening test in patients with coronary artery spasm.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Coronary arteriography and a provocative test with intravenous administration of ergonovine maleate were performed in 26 patients (20 men, 6 women, mean age 48.2+/-12.0 years, range 20 to 67 years) who were suspected of having a coronary artery spasm. The subjects were divided into 2 groups: group 1 (n = 18) comprised subjects with a positive provocative test result, and group 2 (n = 8) comprised subjects with negative provocative test results. Ten healthy subjects served as controls. No abnormal MIBG uptake was observed in the control subjects. Abnormal sympathetic nervous innervation using 123I-MIBG SPECT was observed either as a reduced uptake or a defective pattern in the perfused areas in 13 of the 18 regions supplied by vessels of ergonovine-induced vasospasm. Normal sympathetic innervation, as evidenced by normal 123I-MIBG uptake, was noted in all of the 60 segments of normal vessel territories. Reduced uptake of 123I-MIBG was not detected in the perfused areas of 5 vasospasm-induced vessels (perfusion territory of left anterior descending coronary artery [LAD] and the right coronary artery [RCA] in 2 and 3 patients, respectively). The sensitivity and specificity of 123I-MIBG for detection of coronary artery spasm were 72.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 55% to 89%) and 100%, respectively. The positive predictive and negative predictive values were 100% and 92.3% (95% CI 91% to 93%), respectively.

CONCLUSION: 123I-MIBG SPECT is a feasible method to evaluate noninvasively and localize the territories of coronary arteries with spasm. Invasive diagnostic coronary arteriography with ergonovine provocation test may be unnecessary for diagnosis of coronary artery spasm in patients with typical resting pain, negative exercise test or normal thallium perfusion scan results, but showing abnormalities in 123I-MIBG SPECT.

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