Emission computed tomography with technetium-99m pyrophosphate was used to delineate the location and estimate the size of myocardial infarcts in 20 patients with documented acute myocardial infarction. Tomography was performed after planar imaging within 2-5 days after the onset of infarction. A series of transaxial, frontal, and sagittal tomograms were reconstructed from 32 views imaged from the left side of the patient's chest with a rotating gammacamera. Infarct volume was measured from the tomographic images by computerised planimetry and was compared with the cumulative release of creatine kinase MB isoenzyme. The planar images showed discrete myocardial uptake in 13 of the 20 patients and diffuse uptake throughout the cardiac region in the remaining seven. In contrast, the tomographic images clearly delineated discrete myocardial uptake by avoiding confusion of myocardial activity with that of surrounding structures, particularly bones, in all patients. For the 10 patients whose infarct size was assessed by analysis of the creatine kinase MB curve there was a close correlation between infarct volume estimated by tomography and by cumulative creatine kinase MB release. Thus emission computed tomography can provide a three dimensional map of technetium-99m pyrophosphate distribution within the heart and is thus able accurately to localise and estimate the size of myocardial infarcts in man.
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