Prevalence and Prognostic Importance of Abnormal Positron Emission Tomography Among Asymptomatic Patients With Diabetes Mellitus

Krishna K. Patel, Annapoorna Singh, Poghni A. Peri-Okonny, Femina S. Patel, Kevin F. Kennedy, Brett W. Sperry, Randall C. Thompson, A. Iain McGhie, John A. Spertus, Leslee J. Shaw, Timothy M. Bateman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Ischemia and reduced global myocardial blood flow reserve (MBFR) are associated with high cardiovascular risk among symptomatic patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). Objectives: This study aimed to assess the prevalence and prognostic importance of silent ischemia and reduced MBFR among asymptomatic patients with DM. Methods: This study included 2,730 consecutive patients with DM, without known coronary artery disease (CAD) or cardiomyopathy, who underwent rubidium-82 rest/stress positron emission tomography myocardial perfusion imaging (PET MPI) from 2010 to 2016. These patients were followed up for all-cause mortality (n = 461) for a median follow-up of 3 years. Patients were considered asymptomatic if neither chest pain nor dyspnea was elicited. Rates of ischemia, reduced MBFR, and coronary microvascular dysfunction on PET were assessed in both groups. Cox regression was used to define the independent association of abnormal MPI markers with mortality. Results: One-quarter of patients with DM (23.7%; n = 647) were asymptomatic; ischemia was present in 30.5% (n = 197), reduced MBFR in 62.3% (n = 361), and coronary microvascular dysfunction in 32.7% (n = 200). In adjusted analyses, reduced MBFR (HR per 0.1 unit decrease in MBFR: 1.08 [95% CI: 1.03-1.12]; P = 0.001) and reduced ejection fraction (HR per 5% decrease: 1.10 [95% CI: 1.01-1.18]; P = 0.02) were independently prognostic of mortality among asymptomatic patients, but ischemia was not. This was comparable to DM patients with symptoms. Insulin use and older age were significant predictors of reduced MBFR among asymptomatic patients with DM. Conclusions: In both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients with DM, impairment in MBFR is common and associated with greater mortality risk.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • diabetes mellitus
  • ischemia
  • myocardial blood flow reserve
  • myocardial perfusion imaging
  • positron emission tomography


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