, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 37-42
Date: 02 Nov 2011

Utilization of radionuclide myocardial perfusion imaging in two health care systems: Assessment with the 2009 ACCF/ASNC/AHA appropriateness use criteria

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Although differences in the rate of utilization of invasive cardiac procedures between Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and other health care systems are present, noninvasive cardiac imaging use pattern has not been well studied. We evaluated the ability of the updated appropriateness use criteria (AUC) to determine utilization patterns of myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) and compare use between an academic practice and a VA.


One-hundred fifty stress/rest MPI studies in an academic practice and 150 at a VA hospital were retrospectively reviewed using the hierarchical approach published in the 2009 AUC.


Less than 1% of studies were unclassified. A higher percentage of MPI were requested for inappropriate reason at the VA, although this difference was not statistically significant (P = .248). In the VA, non-physicians requested significantly more inappropriate studies than physicians (26.8% vs 20.1%; P < .048). Within the academic practice non-cardiologists referred more patients for inappropriate indications than cardiologists (23.9% vs 10.1%; P = .001). Five most common inappropriate indications accounted for the vast majority of inappropriately requested MPI (77%).


The revised 2009 AUC allow for near complete categorization of appropriateness in testing. Differences between institutions and provider types were noted and areas for improved utilization were identified.