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Left ventricular long axis disturbances as predictors for thallium perfusion defects in patients with known peripheral vascular disease


Objective To compare resting long axis echocardiography with adenosine thallium-201 emission tomography in detecting myocardial ischaemic abnormalities in patients before peripheral vascular surgery.

Design A prospective and blinded preoperative examination of resting left ventricular minor and long axes and myocardial perfusion during adenosine vasodilatation using thallium-201 emission tomography.

Setting A tertiary referral centre for cardiac and vascular disease equipped with invasive, non-invasive, and surgical facilities.

Subjects 65 patients (40 men) with significant peripheral vascular disease, mean (SD) age 63 (10) years, and 21 control subjects of similar age.

Methods Segments were classified as normal, with fixed or reversible defects according to thallium-201 myocardial perfusion tomography. Systolic long axis abnormalities were either reduced excursion and/or abnormal shortening after A2, and diastolic abnormalities either delayed onset of lengthening > 80 ms and/or reduced peak lengthening rate < 4.5 cm/s. Segmental perfusion defects were compared with the equivalent long axes; anteroseptal for septal, inferoseptal for posterior, and lateral for left side giving a total of 195 segments.

Results Systolic long axis abnormalities predicted fixed thallium defects (sensitivity 86%, specificity 87%, positive predictive value 0.78, negative predictive value 0.93, p < 0.001), and diastolic abnormalities correlated with reversible perfusion defects (sensitivity 90%, specificity 85%, positive predictive value 0.72, negative predictive value 0.95, p < 0.001). Echocardiography characteristics of the true and false positive segments were not different in the site or the extent of abnormalities.

Conclusion Systolic long axis abnormalities predict fixed and diastolic reversible thallium perfusion defects in patients with peripheral vascular disease. Ventricular long axis may thus have a value as a screening test before peripheral vascular surgery as well as providing a means of monitoring myocardial perfusion. The high negative predictive values indicate that a negative long axis study makes significant perfusion abnormalities very unlikely in patients with high pretest probability of coronary artery disease.

  • peripheral vascular disease
  • left ventricular long axis
  • thallium-201
  • myocardial perfusion scintigraphy

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