Comparison of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography in Women With Suspected Coronary Artery Disease From the Clinical Evaluation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Coronary Heart Disease (CE-MARC) Trial

OBJECTIVES: Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in women, and under diagnosis contributes to the high mortality.  This study compared the sex-specific diagnostic performance of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).

METHODS: A total of 235 women and 393 men with suspected angina underwent CMR, SPECT, and x-ray angiography as part of the Clinical Evaluation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Coronary Heart Disease (CE-MARC) study.  CMR comprised adenosine stress/rest perfusion, cine imaging, late gadolinium enhancement, and magnetic resonance coronary angiography.  Gated adenosine stress/rest SPECT was performed with (99m) Tc-tetrofosmin.

RESULTS: For CMR, the sensitivity in women and men was similar (88.7% versus 85.6%; P=0.57), as was the specificity (83.5% versus 82.8%; P=0.86).  For SPECT, the sensitivity was significantly worse in women than in men (50.9% versus 70.8%; P=0.007), but the specificities were similar (84.1% versus 81.3%; P=0.48).  The sensitivity in both the female and male groups was significantly higher with CMR than SPECT (P<0.0001 for both), but the specificity was similar (P=0.77 and P=1.00, respectively).  For perfusion-only components, CMR outperformed SPECT in women (area under the curve, 0.90 versus 0.67; P<0.0001) and in men (area under the curve, 0.89 versus 0.74; P<0.0001).  Diagnostic accuracy was similar in both sexes with perfusion CMR (P=1.00) but was significantly worse in women with SPECT (P<0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: In both sexes, CMR has greater sensitivity than SPECT.  Unlike SPECT, there are no significant sex differences in the diagnostic performance of CMR.  These findings, plus an absence of ionizing radiation exposure, mean that CMR should be more widely adopted in women with suspected coronary artery disease. 

PMID: 24357404

Posted in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Nuclear Imaging and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. See also:

    Improved diagnosis and prognosis using Decisions Informed by Combining Entities (DICE): Results from the NHLBI-sponsored Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE).
    Doyle, Pohost, Merz, et al.
    Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2013 Dec;3(4):216-27.
    PMID: 24400205.’s+Ischemia+Syndrome+Evaluation+(WISE)

  2. Another important paper from CE-MARC. As in the overall trial, SPECT performed worse than would have been expected; a sensitivity of only 50.7% in women for SPECT is worrying low.

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