To compare regional thallium-201 SPECT redistribution patterns with rubidium-82 PET, we studied 81 patients with both imaging modalities. Sixty patients had significant coronary artery disease. All patients underwent PET imaging after dipyridamole infusion, while SPECT imaging was performed after exercise stress (38 patients) and dipyridamole (43 patients). Sixty-eight percent of patients with prior infarct had fixed defects on SPECT, compared to 39% with PET. Sixty-one percent of patients with prior infarct had PET perfusion defects which exhibited ‘reflow’ or normal rubidium-82 tracer uptake (p < 0.05 vs. SPECT). Similar results were seen in patients without prior infarct (26% fixed defects on SPECT vs. 12% for PET, p < 0.05). Regional analysis showed that 57% of fixed SPECT defects corresponded to PET defects with reflow or normal rubidium-82 uptake, while 78% of ‘fixed’ PET defects corresponded to fixed SPECT defects. PET reflow and normal rubidium-82 uptake in sites of fixed thallium-201 SPECT perfusion defects suggest that imaging modalities employing separate tracer injections at rest and after stress, such as rubidium-82 PET, may be more specific in the assessment of myocardial viability, especially in patients with prior myocardial infarction
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