Appropriate test selection for single-photon emission computed tomography imaging: Association with clinical risk, posttest management, and outcomes Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Appropriate use criteria (AUC) for stress single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) are only one step in appropriate use of imaging. Other steps include pretest clinical risk evaluation and optimal management responses. We sought to understand the link between AUC, risk evaluation, management, and outcome. METHODS: We used AUC to classify 1,199 consecutive patients (63.8 ± 12.5 years, 56% male) undergoing SPECT as inappropriate, uncertain, and appropriate. Framingham score for asymptomatic patients and Bethesda angina score for symptomatic patients were used to classify patients into high (≥5%/y), intermediate, and low (≤1%/y) risk. Subsequent patient management was defined as appropriate or inappropriate based on the concordance between management decisions and the SPECT result. Patients were followed up for a median of 4.8 years, and cause of death was obtained from the social security death registry. RESULTS: Overall, 62% of SPECTs were appropriate, 18% inappropriate, and 20% uncertain (only 5 were unclassified). Of 324 low-risk studies, 108 (33%) were inappropriate, compared with 94 (15%) of 621 intermediate-risk and 1 (1%) of 160 high-risk studies (P < .001). There were 79 events, with outcomes of inappropriate patients better than uncertain and appropriate patients. Management was appropriate in 986 (89%), and appropriateness of patient management was unrelated to AUC (P = .65). CONCLUSION: Pretest clinical risk evaluation may be helpful in appropriateness assessment because very few high-risk patients are inappropriate, but almost half of low-risk patients are inappropriate or uncertain. Appropriate patient management is independent of appropriateness of testing.


  • Aldweib, Nael
  • Negishi, Kazuaki
  • Seicean, Sinziana
  • Jaber, Wael A
  • Hachamovitch, Rory
  • Cerqueira, Manuel
  • Marwick, Thomas H

publication date

  • 2013