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Scintigraphic anatomy of coronary artery disease in digital thallium-201 myocardial images.
  1. R J Wainwright


    One hundred and eight patients with single and multiple vessel coronary artery disease confirmed by arteriography were evaluated by exercise thallium-201 (201Tl) myocardial scintigraphy to determine the scintigraphic appearances of specific coronary stenoses. In general proximal stenoses caused more widespread, but not necessarily more severe, myocardial tracer deficit than distal stenoses. In particular, proximal dominant right coronary artery disease was specifically associated with extensive inferior wall tracer deficit in the anterior scintigram, whereas proximal left circumflex disease caused similar tracer depletion best visualised in the left lateral scintigram. A triad of uptake defects was caused by left anterior descending coronary artery disease: viz. apical tracer deficit (anterior view) in 71% lesions, septal tracer deficit (left anterior oblique view) in 83% of lesions, and anterolateral wall tracer deficit (left lateral projection) in 72% of lesions. The last defect has been termed a 'diagonal window' because it was associated with independent disease of the main diagonal branch of the left anterior descending coronary artery or with disease in the main left anterior descending artery situated proximal to this branch. Diagonal window tracer deficit was the most useful scintigraphic sign distinguishing proximal from distal disease in the left anterior descending coronary artery. False negative scintigraphic defects occurred more commonly in patients with triple vessel disease and in association with well-developed coronary collateral vessels. Certain scintigraphic patterns of 201Tl myocardial accumulation appear invaluable in the noninvasive localisation of stenoses within specific coronary arteries and thus may be useful in predicting life-threatening coronary artery disease which should be confirmed by definite coronary arteriography. The digital 201Tl myocardial scintigram also provides an independent functional guide to the interpretation of coronary arteriograms and may be helpful in the planning of aortocoronary bypass graft surgery.

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