Utility of myocardial perfusion imaging in patients with low-risk treadmill scores

Indu G. Poornima, Todd D. Miller, Timothy F. Christian, David O. Hodge, Kent R. Bailey, Raymond J. Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a previously validated clinical score (CS) could identify patients with a low-risk Duke treadmill score who had a higher risk of adverse events and, therefore, in whom myocardial perfusion imaging would be valuable for risk stratification. BACKGROUND: Current American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines recommend using a standard exercise test without imaging as the initial test in patients who have an interpretable electrocardiogram and are able to exercise. METHODS: We studied 1,461 symptomatic patients with low-risk Duke treadmill scores (≥5) who underwent myocardial perfusion imaging. The CS was derived by assigning one point to each of the following variables: typical angina, history of myocardial infarction, diabetes, insulin use, male gender, and each decade of age over 40 years. A CS cutoff ≥5 or <5 was used to categorize patients as high risk (n = 303 [21%]) or low risk (n = 1,158 [79%]). Perfusion scans were categorized as low, intermediate, or high risk on the basis of the global stress score (GSS). RESULTS: High-risk scans were more common in patients with a high-risk CS (26. 4% vs. 9.5%, p < 0.0001). The CS and GSS were significant independent predictors of cardiac death. However, in patients with a low CS, seven-year cardiac survival was excellent, regardless of the GSS (99% for normal scans, 99% for mildly abnormal scans, and 99% for severely abnormal scans). In contrast, patients with a high CS had a lower seven-year survival rate (92%), which varied with GSS (94% for normal scans, 94% for mildly abnormal scans, and 84% for severely abnormal scans; p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In symptomatic patients with low-risk Duke treadmill scores and low clinical risk, myocardial perfusion imaging is of limited prognostic value. In patients with low-risk Duke treadmill scores and high clinical risk, annual cardiac mortality (>1%) is not low, and myocardial perfusion imaging has independent prognostic value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-199
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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