The effect of collateral flow and myocardial viability on the distribution of technetium-99m sestamibi in a closed-chest model of coronary occlusion and reperfusion

Panithaya Chareonthaitawee, Michael K. O'Connor, Raymond J. Gibbons, Erik L. Ritman, Timothy F. Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Myocardial uptake of technetium-99m sestamibi at low coronary flow rates overestimates blood flow, but the relative impact of flow and viability on 99mTc-sestamibi kinetics is unclear. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of myocardial viability and the degree of collateral blood flow on the uptake and retention of 99mTc-sestamibi by examining three animal models of coronary occlusion and reperfusion, each reflecting a different state of viability and collateral blood flow. Three closed-chest animal models were studied: canine (high collateral flow, preserved viability), porcine (low collateral flow, absent viability) and porcine with slowly occlusive coronary stems producing infarction and enhanced collateral blood flow (high collateral flow, absent viability). There were seven dogs, seven pigs and six pigs, respectively, in each animal model. Animals from all three models were subjected to a 40-min total left anterior descending artery (LAD) occlusion followed by 2 h of reperfusion. 99mTc-sestamibi and radiolabelled microspheres were injected during LAD occlusion 10 min prior to reperfusion. Animals were sacrificed after 2 h of reperfusion flow. Ex situ heart slice imaging to determine risk area was followed by viability staining to determine infarct size. Slices were subsequently sectioned into equally sized radial segments and placed in a gamma well counter. Risk area as determined by ex situ 99mTc-sestamibi imaging was not significantly different by model. Pathological infarct size differed significantly by model [canine = 1% ± 1% of the left ventricle (LV); porcine = 13% ± 8% LV, porcine with stent = 14% ± 7% LV; P = 0.002)]. Collateral blood flow by microspheres during occlusion tended to differ among models (overall P = 0.08), with the canine and porcine with stent models having relatively high flow rates compared with the acute porcine model. 99mTc-sestamibi activity correlated with microsphere blood flow in all three models, with r values for individual animals (n = 20) ranging from 0.86 to 0.96 (all P < 0.0001). There was a significant difference in the regression line intercepts (P < 0.0001) and slopes (P < 0.01) among the three models comparing 99mTc-sestamibi uptake with myocardial blood flow. 99mTc-sestamibi uptake overestimated blood flow to a greater extent in the canine model (high flow with viability) than in the porcine model (low flow, absent viability). Despite enhanced collateral flow, there was significantly less overestimation of flow in the porcine stent model (high flow, absent viability). In conclusion, at low flow rates 99mTc-sestamibi activity overestimates myocardial blood flow. This effect is most pronounced in myocardium with significant collateral flow and preserved viability, consistent with over-extraction or redistribution of the tracer. The effect is markedly decreased in non-viable myocardium regardless of blood flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-516
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Collateral circulation
  • Ischaemia
  • Radionuclide imaging
  • Viability Reperfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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