The relative value of exercise electrocardiography and computer analyzed thallium-201 imaging was compared in 124 patients with 1-vessel coronary artery disease (CAD). Of these, 78 had left anterior descending (LAD), 32 right and 14 left circumflex (LC) CAD. In patients with no previous myocardial infarction (MI), thallium imaging was more sensitive than the electrocardiogram (78% vs 64%, p <0.01), but in patients with previous MI, sensitivity was similar. Further, thallium imaging was more sensitive only in LAD and LC disease. Redistribution was compared with ST-segment depression as a marker of ischemia. Only in patients with prior MI (76% vs 44%, p <0.01) and only in LC and right CAD did redistribution occur more often than ST depression. Thallium imaging was more accurate in localizing stenoses than the electrocardiogram (p <0.001), but did not always correctly predict coronary anatomy. Septal thallium defects were associated with LAD disease in 84%, inferior defects with right CAD in 40% and posterolateral lesion defects with LC CAD in 22%. The results indicate the overall superiority of thallium imaging in 1-vessel CAD compared with exercise electrocardiography; however, there is a wide spectrum of extent and location of perfusion defects associated with each coronary artery. Thallium imaging complements coronary angiography by demonstrating the functional impact of CAD on myocardial perfusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine