Objectives. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility, safety and diagnostic accuracy of a high dose dobutamine infusion in conjunction with thallium-201 single-photon emission computed tomography in 144 patients (72 men and 72 women with a mean age of 65 ± 10 years) unable to perform exercise or pharmacologic vasodilator stress testing. Background. Dobutamine increases myocardial oxygen consumption by increasing heart rate, contractility and arterial blood pressure. In addition, it causes myocardial blood flow heterogeneity and thus may be a useful stress for noninvasive detection of coronary artery disease. Methods. Dobutamine was administered intravenously at incremental doses of 5, 10, 20, 30 and up to 40 μg/kg per min at 3-min intervals. After 1 min of the maximal dose, 3 mCi of thallium-201 was injected and the infusion was continued for an additional 2 min. Thallium-201 tomography was performed 5 to 10 min after termination of the infusion and 4 h later. The images were visually assessed for the presence and vascular location of perfusion defects and the extent of thallium redistribution. Coronary angiography was performed in 84 patients, with a >50% stenosis considered significant. Results. Dobutamine significantly (p = 0.0001) increased the heart rate (from 75 ± 14 beats/min to 120 ± 23 beats/min), systolic blood pressure (from 136 ± 23 mm Hg to 148 ± 35 mm Hg) and the rate-pressure product (from 10,144 ± 2,517 to 17,858 ± 4,349) from baseline to peak infusion rate, respectively. Most patients (75%) experienced side effects during the infusion, but 74% tolerated a dobutamine dose of 40 μg/kg per min and 97% a dose of 30 μg/kg per min. The more common side effects were typical (26%) and atypical (5%) chest pain, palpitation (29%), flushing (14%), headache (14%) and dyspnea (14%). The overall sensitivity of dobutamine tomography was 86% in the patients who underwent coronary angiography and 84% in those with single-vessel, 82% in those with double-vessel and 100% in those with triple-vessel disease. Seventy-eight percent of vessels with severe (≥70%) stenoses were identified with dobutamine tomography. The specificity of dobutamine tomography was 90% for patients and 86% for individual vessels. Conclusions. A high dose dobutamine infusion in conjunction with thallium tomography appears to be a well tolerated and accurate method for diagnosing coronary artery disease in patients unable to perform exercise or vasodilator pharmacologic stress testing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine