False-positive defects in technetium-99m sestamibi myocardial single-photon emission tomography in healthy athletes with left ventricular hypertrophy

P Bartram, J Toft, B Hanel, S Ali, F Gustafsson, J Mortensen, B Hesse

Abstract

Exercise ECG and myocardial single-photon emission tomography (SPET) are fundamental in the non-invasive evaluation of patients suspected of having coronary artery disease (CAD). The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of physiological left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) on myocardial sestamibi SPET in healthy young and old athletes. Eighteen young male elite athletes (ten rowers, five power/weight lifters and three triathletes) and 14 well-trained elderly rowers were studied. All underwent a bicycle test as part of a 2-day sestamibi SPET protocol. Attenuation correction was not performed. The studies were evaluated visually and quantitatively analysed by the CEqual program with its reference files and with a file from a local non-athletic age-matched population. Echocardiographic LVH was an inclusion criterion in the young athletes. Exercise ECG was normal in all subjects. In at least three of the young athletes a reversible defect was observed by visual analysis. On quantitative analysis one-third of the young athletes had "significant" (>10 pixels) defects compared with both the local reference base and the CEqual reference population. Nearly all defects were found in the anterior or inferior wall. The remaining subjects, including all old rowers, had normal SPET findings. Anterior and inferior wall defects are so common in healthy athletes with physiological LVH that the specificity of myocardial SPET, in contrast to exercise ECG, seems to be too low for evaluation of chest pain in this group. The mechanism of anterior and inferior defects may be related to hot spots (papillary muscles?) in the lateral wall. The specificity of SPET is maintained in athletes without LVH.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean Journal Of Nuclear Medicine
Vol/bind25
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)1308-12
Antal sider5
ISSN0340-6997
DOI
StatusUdgivet - sep. 1998
Udgivet eksterntJa

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