82Rb cardiac PET allows the assessment of myocardial perfusion using a column generator in clinics that lack a cyclotron. We and others have previously shown that quantitation of myocardial blood flow (MBF) and coronary flow reserve (CFR) is feasible using dynamic 82Rb PET and factor and compartment analyses. The aim of the present work was to determine the intra- and inter-observer variability of MBF estimation using 82Rb PET as well as the reproducibility of our generalized factor + compartment analyses methodology to estimate MBF and assess its accuracy by comparing, in the same subjects, 82Rb estimates of MBF to those obtained using 13N-ammonia.
Twenty-two subjects were included in the reproducibility and twenty subjects in the validation study. Patients were injected with 60±5mCi of 82Rb and imaged dynamically for 6 minutes at rest and during dipyridamole stress Left and right ventricular (LV+RV) time-activity curves were estimated by GFADS and used as input to a 2-compartment kinetic analysis that estimates parametric maps of myocardial tissue extraction (K1) and egress (k2), as well as LV+RV contributions (fv,rv).
Our results show excellent reproducibility of the quantitative dynamic approach itself with coefficients of repeatability of 1.7% for estimation of MBF at rest, 1.4% for MBF at peak stress and 2.8% for CFR estimation. The inter-observer reproducibility between the four observers that participated in this study was also very good with correlation coefficients greater than 0.87 between any two given observers when estimating coronary flow reserve. The reproducibility of MBF in repeated 82Rb studies was good at rest and excellent at peak stress (r2=0.835). Furthermore, the slope of the correlation line was very close to 1 when estimating stress MBF and CFR in repeated 82Rb studies. The correlation between myocardial flow estimates obtained at rest and during peak stress in 82Rb and 13N-ammonia studies was very good at rest (r2=0.843) and stress (r2=0.761). The Bland-Altman plots show no significant presence of proportional error at rest or stress, nor a dependence of the variations on the amplitude of the myocardial blood flow at rest or stress. A small systematic overestimation of 13N-ammonia MBF was observed with 82Rb at rest (0.129 ml/g/min) and the opposite, i.e., underestimation, at stress (0.22 ml/g/min).
Our results show that absolute quantitation of myocardial bloof flow is reproducible and accurate with 82Rb dynamic cardiac PET as compared to 13N-ammonia. The reproducibility of the quantitation approach itself was very good as well as inter-observer reproducibility.