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A clinical role for [123I]MIBG myocardial scintigraphy in the distinction between dementia of the Alzheimer's-type and dementia with Lewy bodies

Abstract

OBJECTIVE Scintigraphy with [123I]metaiodobenzyl guanidine ([123I]MIBG) enables the quantification of postganglionic sympathetic cardiac innervation. Recently, myocardial [123I]MIBG scintigraphy has been found to be useful in distinguishing Parkinson's disease, a Lewy body disease, from other akinetic rigid syndromes. Some patients initially diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT) are discovered to have an alternative disease such as dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), despite the application of stringent diagnostic criteria. In the present study, examinations were performed to clarify the usefulness of myocardial [123I]MIBG scintigraphy in improving the differential diagnosis between patients with DLB and DAT.

METHODS Fourteen patients with DLB and 14 patients with DAT underwent scintigraphy with [123I]MIBG, combined with orthostatic tests and cardiac examinations.

RESULTS In all patients with DLB, the heart to mediastinum (H/M) ratio of MIBG uptake was pathologically impaired in both early and delayed images, independently of the duration of disease and autonomic failure. All patients with DAT had successful MIBG uptake in the heart regardless of duration of disease and autonomic failure. Orthostatic hypotension was seen in four patients with DAT and 13 patients with DLB.

CONCLUSIONS [123I]MIBG myocardial scintigraphy might detect early disturbances of the sympathetic nervous system in DLB and might provide useful diagnostic information to discriminate DLB from DAT. The distinction between DLB and DAT may be improved by greater emphasis on cardiac sympathetic disturbances.

  • metaiodobenzyl guanidine
  • dementia with Lewy bodies
  • dementia of the Alzheimer's-type
  • autonomic function

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