Journal of Nuclear Cardiology

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 244–255 | Cite as

The clinical value of single photon emission computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging in cardiac risk stratification of very elderly patients (≥80 years) with suspected coronary artery disease

  • Sanjeev U. NairEmail author
  • Alan W. Ahlberg
  • Shishir Mathur
  • Deborah M. Katten
  • Donna M. Polk
  • Gary V. Heller
Original Article



The role of single photon emission computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging (SPECT MPI) in cardiac evaluation of the very elderly patients is unclear. We investigated the clinical value of SPECT MPI in very elderly patients (≥80 years) with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD) as well as in comparison to younger patients.

Methods and Results

A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from 8,864 patients [1,093 patients ≥80 years (very elderly), 3,369 patients 65-79 years (elderly), and 4,402 patients 50-64 years (middle-aged)] with suspected CAD who underwent exercise and/or pharmacologic stress testing with SPECT MPI between 1996 and 2005 was performed. Clinical and SPECT MPI characteristics, cardiac event rates, early (≤60 days) cardiac catheterization and revascularization rates of very elderly patients were compared to that of younger patients. Mean follow-up for cardiac events (cardiac death or non-fatal myocardial infarction) was 1.9 ± 0.9 years. Very elderly patients with moderate to severely abnormal SSS had a significantly higher annualized cardiac event rate than those with mildly abnormal or normal study (9.6% vs 3.4% and 2.5% respectively, P < .001). Across all categories of SSS, very elderly patients had a significantly higher cardiac event rate as compared to younger patients (P < .001). Early cardiac catheterization and revascularization referrals in very elderly patients increased as a function of severity of ischemia on SPECT MPI (P < .001), although these referral rates were significantly lower in very elderly patients with mild to moderate and severe ischemia as compared to younger patients (P < .05).


In very elderly patients (≥80 years) with suspected CAD, SPECT MPI has prognostic and incremental value in the noninvasive cardiovascular assessment for risk stratification and may influence medical decisions.


Elderly prognosis single-photon emission-computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging revascularization 



We thank David O’Sullivan, PhD for his help in reviewing an earlier version of this manuscript.




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Copyright information

© American Society of Nuclear Cardiology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanjeev U. Nair
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alan W. Ahlberg
    • 1
  • Shishir Mathur
    • 1
  • Deborah M. Katten
    • 1
  • Donna M. Polk
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gary V. Heller
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Cardiology, Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory, Henry Low Heart CenterHartford HospitalHartfordUSA
  2. 2.University of Connecticut School of MedicineFarmingtonUSA

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