In patients with valvar heart disease detection of coronary artery disease by conventional non-invasive methods may be difficult. The usefulness of thallium-201 exercise scintigraphy for detecting coronary artery disease was evaluated in 16 patients with aortic stenosis, 17 with aortic regurgitation, nine with mitral stenosis, and six with mitral regurgitation who were investigated by coronary angiography. Only two of 21 patients with greater than or equal to 50% coronary artery obstruction had normal thallium images. Three patients without angiographic evidence of coronary artery stenoses had perfusion defects demonstrated by thallium scintigraphy. Only one patient with greater than or equal to 75% coronary stenosis had a normal thallium scan. Angina pectoris or ST segment depression evoked by exercise test were not useful in distinguishing patients with coronary artery disease from those with normal coronary vessels. These data suggest that thallium exercise scintigraphy may be a useful non-invasive test for detecting coronary artery disease in patients with valvar heart disease.
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