PURPOSE:The association between myocardial perfusion imaging defects and cardiac mortality in women is undefined. We examined whether myocardial perfusion imaging predicted cardiac mortality in men and women and compared this with other variables influencing prognosis. SUBJECTS AND METHODS:Six academic institutions with high-volume nuclear cardiology laboratories consecutively studied 5,009 men aged 62 +/- 12 years (mean ISD) and 3,402 women aged 66 +/- 11 years with symptomatic known or suspected coronary artery disease undergoing exercise (n = 7,486) or pharmacologic stress (n = 925) myocardial perfusion imaging. A pretest clinical risk index was calculated from age, history of myocardial infarction, diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. Myocardial perfusion images were analyzed for stress-induced defects or any defect in the territories of the three major coronary arteries. RESULTS:Stress-induced perfusion defects were seen in 39% of men and 25% of women (P = 0.0001). Extensive stress-induced or fixed defects (>2 vascular territories) were less common in women than men (10% vs 19%, and 4% vs 18%, both P = 0.0001). During a mean of 2.4 +/- 1.5 years of follow-up, 143 patients died of cardiac causes. The clinical risk index and number of territories with perfusion defects were associated with cardiac mortality in women and men. In women undergoing exercise myocardial perfusion imaging, the number of abnormal territories remained the strongest correlate of mortality after adjustment for exercise variables. CONCLUSIONS:The results of myocardial perfusion imaging are important, independent predictors of survival in both women and men.