The nuclear probe was used for measuring left ventricular function in 11 normal subjects and the results compared with those using a digital gammacamera. The probe was then used to measure left ventricular function in patients with coronary artery disease during dynamic exercise and stress atrial pacing. The ability of the probe to detect changes induced by glyceryl trinitrate was also evaluated in separate parallel studies. In the 11 normal subjects there was a good correlation between the left ventricular ejection fraction measured by the gammacamera and the nuclear probe both at rest and during exercise. Exercise increased this value by at least 5% in all normal subjects during measurements with both the gammacamera and the nuclear probe. The mean (SD) difference was -0.3% (2.60) at rest and 2.3% (5.02) at peak exercise. Both exercise and pacing produced angina in the patient group and the mean (SEM) value fell from 52% (3.5) to 28% (2.6) and from 46% (5.1) to 34% (3.2) respectively. Glyceryl trinitrate prolonged the exercise and pacing times, and the corresponding falls in ejection fraction were significantly reduced. The non-imaging nuclear probe is a cheap and portable instrument capable of assessing left ventricular function in patients with cardiac disease. It is designed for high count rate acquisition over a short period of time and can thus provide both beat to beat and summated left ventricular time activity curves suitable for quantitative analysis. It therefore has important advantages in the clinical setting and during controlled interventions compared with the gammacameras.
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