J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 67:189-194 doi:10.1136/jnnp.67.2.189
  • Paper

123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine myocardial scintigraphy in Parkinson’s disease

  1. S Orimoa,
  2. E Ozawaa,
  3. S Nakadeb,
  4. T Sugimotoc,
  5. H Mizusawad
  1. aDepartment of Neurology, bDepartment of Radiology, cKanto Central Hospital, 6- 25–1 Kami-Yoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158, Japan, dDepartment of Neurology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1–5–45, Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan
  1. Dr S Orimo, Department of Neurology, Kanto Central Hospital, 6- 25–1 Kami-Yoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158, Japan. Telephone 0081 3 3429 1171; fax 0081 3 3429 1236.
  • Received 9 October 1998
  • Revised 8 February 1999
  • Accepted 16 February 1999


OBJECTIVES 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) myocardial scintigraphy is clinically used to estimate local myocardial sympathetic nerve damage in some forms of heart disease, autonomic nerve disturbance in diabetic neuropathy, and disturbance of the autonomic nervous system in neurodegenerative disease. In the present study, examinations were performed to clarify (1) the proportion of cardiac sympathetic nerve disturbance in Parkinson’s disease, (2) the usefulness of 123I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy to detect sympathetic nerve disturbances compared with autonomic function tests, (3) cardiac function in patients who have a decreased MIBG uptake in 123I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy, (4) the usefulness of 123I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy to differentiate Parkinson’s disease from the other neurological diseases mimicking it.

METHODS 123I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy was performed, together with autonomic function tests and cardiac examinations in 46 patients with Parkinson’s disease and 25 patients with vascular parkinsonism, essential tremor, or multiple system atrophy.

RESULTS In an anterior image study, the average count per pixel in heart to mediastinum (H/M) ratio decreased in 80% of the patients with Parkinson’s disease in the early phase and 84% in the late phase. The mean H/M ratio in Parkinson’s disease was significantly lower than that in controls and the other diseases. The H/M ratio tended to decrease with the disease progression. In almost half of the patients in Hoehn and Yahr stage I, the H/M ratio was already decreased. The sympathetic skin response in upper and lower limbs, head up tilt test, and coefficient of variation of R-R interval were abnormal in 17%, 31%, 30%, and 17% of the patients, respectively. All the patients with abnormal autonomic functions were in Hoehn and Yahr stage III, IV, or V. Echocardiography showed normal left ventricular function. Twenty four hour Holter electrocardiography detected no serious arrhythmias except for one patient with non-sustained ventricular tachycardia.

CONCLUSION 123I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy might detect early disturbances of the sympathetic nervous system in Parkinson’s disease and might give useful diagnostic information to differentiate vascular parkinsonism, essential tremor, and multiple system atrophy from Parkinson’s disease.


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