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In patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC) the increased sympathetic activity owing to chronic congestive heart failure leads to an imbalance of cardiac autonomic tone, as reflected by decreased heart rate variability (HRV). Iodine-123-metaiodobenzylguanidine (123-I-MIBG), which has the same affinity for sympathetic nerve endings as norepinephrine, can be used to assess the integrity and function of the cardiac sympathetic nervous system. The aim of the present study was to measure cardiac sympathetic activity by assessing 123-I-MIBG uptake compared with HRV in patients with IDC. In 12 patients with IDC and mild to moderate heart failure, myocardial MIBG uptake was calculated from the myocardial (M) to left ventricular cavity (C) voxel values density ratio and the 123-I activity in a blood sample as a reference (= M/C ratio) using a double radionuclide study with 123-I-MIBG and technetium-99m-MIBI. To investigate the relation between myocardial MIBG uptake and HRV in time domain, the linear regression between the M/C ratio, a new scintigraphic parameter, and the mean RR interval or the HRV triangular index, respectively, was determined. A significant correlation between the M/C ratio and mean RR interval (r = 0.52; p = 0.016) or M/C ratio and HRV triangular index (r = 0.76; p = 0.003), respectively, was found. Thus, the significant correlation between the M/C ratio and HRV indicate that they are both suitable noninvasive methods for evaluating cardiac sympathetic activity in patients with IDC and, furthermore, favor the view that there is evidence of a relation between HRV and the disorder of the cardiac presynaptic sympathetic nerve endings as demonstrated by a reduced M/C ratio.


Journal article


Am J Cardiol

Publication Date





1548 - 1551


3-Iodobenzylguanidine, Diastole, Echocardiography, Heart, Heart Rate, Humans, Iodine Radioisotopes, Myocardium, Stroke Volume, Sympathetic Nervous System, Ventricular Function, Left