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Nuclear Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Use Decreasing


Use of nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging exams dropped sharply between 2006 and 2011, but substitute imaging studies haven’t increased.

Use of nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) has decreased significantly, according to a recent study in JAMA.

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, Calif., examined trends of MPI use from 2000 to 2011. The researchers obtained data regarding patients, aged 30 years or older, who underwent MPI within the healthcare delivery system.

The findings showed that MPI was used for 302,506 patients at 19 facilities. The imaging use increased by a relative 41 percent from 2000 to 2006. However, from 2006 to 2011, MPI use dropped by a relative 51 percent. Use dropped by 58 percent among outpatients and 31 percent among inpatients and for patients under age 65.

When looking to see if other imaging tests increased as a result of the MPI decrease, the researchers found that use of cardiac CT did increase and could have accounted for 5 percent of the observed decline in overall MPI use if performed as a substitute.

“The substantial reduction in MPI use demonstrates the ability to reduce testing on a large scale with anticipated reductions in health care costs,” wrote authors Edward J. McNulty, MD, and colleagues.

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