Thallium reinjection after stress-redistribution imaging: Does 24-hour delayed imaging after reinjection enhance detection of viable myocardium?

Vasken Dilsizian*, Wendy R. Smeltzer, Nanette M T Freedman, Raymond Dextras, Robert O. Bonow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background. Thallium reinjection immediately after conventional stress-redistribution imaging improves the detection of viable myocardium, as many myocardial regions with apparently "irreversible" thallium defects on standard 3-4-hour redistribution images manifest enhanced thallium uptake after reinjection. Because the 10-minute period between reinjection and imaging may be too short, the present study was designed to determine whether 24-hour imaging after thallium reinjection provides additional information regarding myocardial viability beyond that obtained by imaging shortly after reinjection. Methods and Results. We studied 50 patients with chronic stable coronary artery disease undergoing exercise thallium tomography, radionuclide angiography, and coronary arteriography. Immediately after the 3-4-hour redistribution images were obtained, 1 mCi thallium was injected at rest, and images were reacquired at 10 minutes and 24 hours after reinjection. The stress, redistribution, reinjection, and 24-hour images were then analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. Of the 127 abnormal myocardial regions on the stress images, 55 had persistent defects on redistribution images by qualitative analysis, of which 25 (45%) demonstrated improved thallium uptake after reinjection. At the 24-hour study, 23 of the 25 regions (92%) with previously improved thallium uptake by reinjection showed no further improvement. Similarly, of the 30 regions determined to have irreversible defects after reinjection, 29 (97%) remained irreversible on 24-hour images. These findings were confirmed by the quantitative analysis. The mean normalized thallium activity in regions with enhanced thallium activity after reinjection increased from 57±13% on redistribution studies to 70±14% after reinjection but did not change at 24 hours (71±14%). In regions with irreversible defects that were unaltered by reinjection, mean regional thallium activity did not differ from the reinjection to the 24-hour studies (57±17% and 58±17%, respectively). Twenty-four-hour imaging after reinjection showed improvement in only four of 35 irreversible regions (involving three of the 50 patients). Conclusions. These data indicate that thallium reinjection at rest after 3-4 hours of redistribution provides most of the clinically relevant information pertaining to myocardial viability in regions with apparently irreversible thallium defects. Hence, thallium reinjection may be used instead of 24-hour imaging in most patients in whom a persistent thallium defect is observed on conventional redistribution images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1255
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1991


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Myocardial viability
  • Thallium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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