SPECT helpful in staging PCI candidates

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SPECT can identify which patients would benefit more from undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) than receiving therapy alone for blocked coronary arteries, according to late-breaking trial results presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) conference in Orlando, Fla., this week.

Myocardial perfusion SPECT (MPS) assesses blood flow in the heart by taking nuclear images of the chest after injecting a radioactive tracer into the blood.

In the nuclear sub-study of the Clinical Trial Outcomes Using Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation (COURAGE) trial, researchers found that MPS imaging could help identify the patients more likely to benefit from percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), or angiography.

The COURAGE trial, which was conducted between 1999 and 2004, examined 2,287 patients in 50 U.S. and Canadian centers. The researchers compared outcomes from a follow-up period ranging from 2.5 to seven years. In the sub-study of the original trial, the researchers used SPECT imaging to inspect the hearts of 313 patients.