Temporal trends in test utilization and prevalence of ischaemia with positron emission tomography myocardial perfusion imaging

Firas J. Al Badarin, Paul S. Chan, John A. Spertus, Randall C. Thompson, Krishna K. Patel, Kevin F. Kennedy, Timothy M. Bateman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Aims: To examine whether test utilization and prevalence of ischemia with positron emission tomography (PET) myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) follow the previously described trends with single photon computed tomography (SPECT). Methods and results: MPI studies performed between January 2003 and December 2017 were identified. Number of PET and SPECT MPI studies performed per year was determined. Trends in the proportion of studies showing any ischaemia (>0%) with both modalities were compared before and after adjusting for baseline differences in patient characteristics using propensity scores. Interaction between imaging modality and year of testing was examined using modified Poisson regression. A total of 156 244 MPI studies were performed (30% PET and 70% SPECT). Between 2003 and 2017, the number of PET studies increased from 18 to 61 studies/1000 patient encounters, while SPECT volumes declined from 169 to 34/1000 patient encounters (P < 0.001 for within-group comparisons). The prevalence of any ischaemia in SPECT-tested patients declined from 53.9% to 28.3% between 2003 and 2017, whereas ischaemia prevalence in PET-tested patients declined from 57.2% to 38.2% (P < 0.001 for within-modality comparisons), with more PET studies showing ischaemia compared to SPECT [relative risk (RR) 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.42-1.47; P < 0.001]. After propensity score matching of 26 066 patients tested with SPECT with 26 066 patients tested with PET, the between-modality difference in ischaemia prevalence was significantly attenuated, with a slightly higher overall likelihood of detecting ischaemia with PET compared to SPECT (RR 1.08, 95% CI 1.05-1.11; P < 0.001). Conclusions: Utilization of PET MPI at a large-volume referral centre increased significantly between 2003 and 2017. Despite a significant decrease in the prevalence of ischaemia with SPECT and PET during the same period, the decline was less with PET, perhaps related to baseline risk of tested patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-325
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Heart Journal Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • coronary artery disease
  • ischaemia
  • myocardial perfusion imaging
  • positron emission tomography


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