Background: The sympathetic nervous system provides an important trigger for major arrhythmic events through regional heterogeneity of sympathetic activity, which could be evaluated by SPECT imaging as the regional MIBG washout rate (WR). There is little information available on the prognostic value of regional WR in SPECT imaging for the prediction of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Methods: We studied 73 CHF outpatients with LVEF < 40%. At study entry, the regional WR was measured in 17 segments on the polar map. We defined abnormal regional WR as both the regional WR range (maximum − minimum regional WR) and maximum regional WR > mean value + 2SD obtained in 15 normal controls. Results: During a mean follow-up of 7.5 ± 4.1 years, 15 of 73 patients had SCD. The abnormal regional WR and abnormal global WR on planar images were significantly and independently associated with SCD. Patients with both the abnormal regional WR and global WR had a significantly higher risk of SCD than those with none of these criteria. Conclusions: The analysis of regional MIBG WR on SPECT imaging provides additional prognostic value to global WR on planar images for SCD prediction in CHF patients.
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