Myocardial denervation coincides with scar heterogeneity in ischemic cardiomyopathy: A PET and CMR study

Stefan de Haan, Mischa T. Rijnierse, Hendrik J. Harms, Hein J. Verberne, Adriaan A. Lammertsma, Marc C. Huisman, Albert D. Windhorst, Albert C. van Rossum, Cornelis P. Allaart, Paul Knaapen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Mismatch between myocardial innervation and perfusion assessed with positron emission tomography (PET) is a potential risk marker for ventricular arrhythmias in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy. This mismatch zone originates from residual viable myocardium that has sustained ischemic nerve injury. Heterogenic scar size assessed with late gadolinium-enhanced (LGE) cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) is also a risk marker of ventricular arrhythmias. These two imaging parameters may represent identical morphological tissue features. The current study explored the relation between innervation-perfusion mismatch and heterogenic scar size. Twenty-eight patients (26 males, age 67 ± 8 years) with ischemic cardiomyopathy and a left ventricular ejection fraction below 35%, eligible for ICD implantation were included. All patients underwent both [11C]-hydroxyephedrine and [15O]-water PET studies to assess myocardial sympathetic innervation and perfusion. LGE CMR was conducted to assess total myocardial scar size, scar core size, and heterogenic scar size. Perfusion defect size was 16.6 ± 9.9% and innervation defect size was 33.7 ± 10.8%, which resulted in an innervation-perfusion mismatch of 17.6 ± 8.9%. Total scar size, scar core size, and heterogenic scar size were 21.2 ± 8.6%, 14.7 ± 6.6%, and 6.5 ± 2.9%, respectively. No relation between scar core size and perfusion deficit size was observed (r = 0.18, P = .36). Total scar size was correlated with the innervation defect size (r = 0.52, P = .004) and the heterogenic scar zone displayed a significant correlation with the innervation-perfusion mismatch area (r = 0.67, P < .001). Denerved residual viable myocardium in ischemic cardiomyopathy as observed with innervation-perfusion PET is related to the heterogenic scar zone as assessed with LGE CMR
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1480-1488
JournalJournal of Nuclear Cardiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • MRI
  • PET
  • delayed contrast enhancement
  • myocardial innervation

Cite this