• Vol. 29 No. 2, 224–230
  • 15 March 2000

Technetium-99m Sestamibi for the Assessment of Myocardial Salvage Following Reperfusion Therapy in Acute Myocardial Infarction



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Introduction: Reperfusion therapy with either thrombolysis or angioplasty has been shown to be beneficial in acute myocardial infarction. Tc-99m sestamibi is a myocardial tracer that can be used to assess myocardial salvage because of its property of very limited redistribution.

Materials and Methods: To assess the feasibility of this technique locally, Tc-99m sestamibi was injected before and after reperfusion therapy with angioplasty (n = 11) or streptokinase (n = 18) in 29 patients with acute myocardial infarction (anterior = 25, inferior = 4). Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) was performed within 4 hours of reperfusion and repeated 5 to 7 days later.

Results: Initial perfusion defect size ranged from 6% to 78% (mean 36.3 ± 18.7%), and final defect size from 0% to 50% of the left ventricle (mean 23.7 ± 14.8%, P <0.001). Patients with proximal left anterior descending artery (LAD) lesions had larger defects compared to those with mid LAD lesions (mean defect size 52% for pLAD versus 28% for mLAD, P <0.013). However, there were wide variations in initial defect size (myocardium at risk) for a given infarct-related artery location. The mean decrease in defect size was 12% in the 28 patients with patent arteries compared to only 2% in the patient with an occluded artery (47% to 45%). There was no significant difference in amount of salvage between patients who had thrombolysis (mean 13%, P = 0.0003) and patients who had percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) (mean 12%, P = 0.005).

Conclusions: Assessment of myocardial salvage is feasible using Tc-99m sestamibi SPECT imaging. It allows for quantitation of myocardium at risk and the amount of myocardial salvage, which is not possible by angiography alone.

Reperfusion therapy for acute myocardial infarction is feasible with thrombolytic therapy as well as acute percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). Both modalities of treatment have been proven to improve long-term survival.

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