Journal of Nuclear Cardiology

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 581–586 | Cite as

Safety and feasibility of atropine added to submaximal exercise stress testing with Tl-201 SPECT for the diagnosis of myocardial ischemia

  • Juan Cosín-SalesEmail author
  • Alicia M. Maceira
  • María J. García-Velloso
  • Alfonso Macías
  • Marta Gimenez
  • Ignacio García-Bolao
  • Isabel Coma-Canella



We aimed to assess whether atropine administration is safe and feasible in patients unable to reach the minimal heart rate (HR) required (80% of age-predicted HR) in myocardial scintigraphic studies after exercise stress testing (EST).

Methods and Results

We studied 108 patients who underwent myocardial perfusion scintigraphy after EST; 0.5 mg of atropine was administered to those showing signs of fatigue before reaching minimal HR (group A, n = 44). The scintigraphic results for group A were compared with those of patients who spontaneously achieved minimal HR (group B, n = 64). Coronary angiographic results, if available, and clinical follow-up were also compared. In group A, atropine increased HR by 13.7 ± 7.4 beats/min. The percentage of maximal age-related HR achieved was 83.3% ± 7.5%; 74% achieved minimal HR. No major adverse effects occurred. When groups A and B were compared, baseline and peak HR, rate pressure product, and maximal metabolic equivalents achieved were higher in group B. There were no differences in number of perfusion studies positive for ischemia (group A, 26/44, and group B, 30/64; P = .2), coronary lesions, or clinical follow-up.


Atropine added to EST in patients who cannot achieve their 80% age-related HR is a safe and potentially useful method for myocardial perfusion studies.(J Nucl Cardiol 2002;9:581-6.)

Key Words

Atropine submaximal exercise testing scintigraphy myocardial ischemia 


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Copyright information

© American Society of Nuclear Cardiology 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Cosín-Sales
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alicia M. Maceira
    • 1
  • María J. García-Velloso
    • 2
  • Alfonso Macías
    • 1
  • Marta Gimenez
    • 2
  • Ignacio García-Bolao
    • 1
  • Isabel Coma-Canella
    • 1
  1. 1.The Departments of CardiologyClínica Universitaria de NavarraNavarraSpain
  2. 2.The Departments of Nuclear MedicineClínica Universitaria de NavarraNavarraSpain

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