A modified classification for interpreting technetium-99m pyrophosphate scintigrams defines the 2+ diffuse pattern of tracer uptake as equivocal rather than positive for acute myocardial infarction. Results of scintigraphy using this classification were compared with results of standard diagnostic tests for myocardial infarction in 235 patients admitted to a coronary care unit with acute chest pain. Of 81 patients with acute transmural infarction by standard clinical, electrocardiographic and serum enzyme criteria, 76 had a positive, 5 an equivocal and none a negative scintigram. Of 18 with acute nontransmural infarction by standard criteria, 7 had a positive, 9 an equivocal and 2 a negative scintigram. Thus it was uncommon for a patient with acute myocardial infarction, transmural or nontransmural, to have a definitely negative technetium-99m pyrophosphate study. Ten patients had equivocal evidence of infarction by standard criteria. Of the remaining 126 patients with no evidence of acute myocardial infarction by standard criteria, 87 had a negative, 35 an equivocal and 4 a definitely positive scintigram. Thus the definitely positive scintigraphic pattern was relatively highly specific for acute myocardial infarction. If the 2+ pattern had been considered positive, the specificity of the technique would have been greatly decreased. Computer processing strengthened observer certainty of the visual impression but changed the scintigraphic evaluation in only eight cases. Thus, use of an equivocal pattern renders technetium-99m pyrophosphate imaging both an extremely sensitive and specific method for detecting acute myocardial infarction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine