Thallium-201 myocardial scintigraphy was performed in patients with congenital heart defects to determine whether, by quantification of right ventricular isotope uptake, one could assess the degree of right ventricular hypertrophy and so predict the level of right ventricular pressure. A total of 24 patients ranging in age from 7 months to 30 years was studied; 18 were studied before corrective surgery and six after operation. All but three had congenital heart defects which had resulted in pressure and/or volume-overload of the right ventricle. At routine cardiac catheterisation, 20 microCi/kg thallium-201 as thallous chloride was injected through the venous catheter and myocardial images were recorded in anterior and left anterior oblique projections; these were subsequently analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Insignificant right ventricular thallium-201 counts judged as being less than 1 per cent of the injected dose or less than 0.3 of the left ventricular counts were present in six patients all with right ventricular peak systolic pressure less than 30 mmHg. In the remaining 18 patients there was a good correlation between the right ventricular/left ventricular peak systolic pressure ratio and the right ventricular/left ventricular thallium-201 counts ratio. All patients with right ventricular/left ventricular peak systolic pressure less than 0.5 had right ventricular/left ventricular thallium-201 counts less than 0.4. Qualitative evaluation of right ventricular isotope intensity proved helpful mainly in distinguishing the patients with right ventricular pressures at or above systemic levels. Thus quantitative analysis of myocardial imaging with thallium-201 is of use clinically in patients with congenital heart defects, in assessing the severity of pulmonary stenosis or the presence of pulmonary artery hypertension.
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