Diagnosing and grading heart failure with tomographic perfusion lung scintigraphy: validation with right heart catheterization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aims: Pulmonary congestion remains a diagnostic challenge in patients with heart failure (HF). The recommended method, chest X-ray (CXR), lacks in accuracy, whereas quantitative tomographic lung scintigraphy [ventilation/perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography (V/P SPECT)] has shown promising results but needs independent validation. The aim of this study is to evaluate V/P SPECT as a non-invasive method to assess and quantify pulmonary congestion in HF patients, using right heart catheterization as reference method. The secondary objective was to investigate the performance of V/P SPECT in the clinical setting compared with CXR. Methods and results: Forty-six consecutive patients with HF that were under consideration for heart transplantation were studied prospectively. All participants were examined with V/P SPECT, CXR, and right heart catheterization. Pulmonary artery wedge pressure served as reference method. Quantitative perfusion gradients were derived from V/P SPECT images. Ventilation/perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography images were also assessed both by expert readers and clinical nuclear medicine physicians. Expert readers correctly identified 87% of all patients with an elevated pulmonary artery wedge pressure > 15 mmHg. The average sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) for V/P SPECT assessed by the expert readers were 87%, 72%, 85%, and 75%, respectively. In the clinical nuclear medicine setting, V/P SPECT had 87% sensitivity, 63% specificity, 81% PPV, and 71% NPV. Clinically, V/P SPECT outperformed CXR, which had 27% sensitivity, 75% specificity, 67% PPV, and 35% NPV. Conclusions: Ventilation/perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography can be used as a non-invasive method to diagnose and quantify pulmonary congestion in patients with HF and is more accurate than CXR in diagnosing pulmonary congestion in the clinical setting.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • Heart failure, Lung scintigraphy, Pulmonary congestion, Pulmonary perfusion distribution, Right heart catheterization, V/P SPECT
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-910
Number of pages9
JournalESC Heart Failure
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch