To evaluate the prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), 47 clinically asymptomatic SCI patients received thallium-201 myocardial perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (Tl-201 SPECT) after dipyridamole administration for the diagnosis of CAD. There were 4 groups as follows; group 1: 13 patients with quadriplegia and complete SCI, group 2: 11 patients with quadriplegia and incomplete SCI, group 3: 11 patients with paraplegia and complete SCI, and group 4: 12 patients with paraplegia and incomplete SCI. There were no significant differences in sex distribution, ages, SCI duration, or CAD risk factors among the SCI patients in the 4 groups. All Tl-201 SPECT images were interpreted by the agreement of 2 experienced nuclear medicine physicians without prior knowledge of the patients' histories. A total of 30 of 47 (63.8%) SCI patients had abnormal Tl-201 SPECT findings. Among the 4 groups of SCI patients, those in groups 1 and 4 had the significantly highest and lowest prevalences of abnormal Tl-201 SPECT findings, respectively. We concluded that combined quadriplegia and complete SCI is an important CAD risk factor in SCI patients based on the objective evidence of intravenous dipyridamole cardiac stress testing with Tl-201 SPECT.
2006 by the International Heart Journal Association