The myocardium has the capacity to utilize a variety of metabolic substrates, including long-chain fatty acids, ketone bodies, glucose, lactate, and amino acids. Under most conditions long-chain fatty acids constitute the major myocardial energy source. Imaging of long-chain fatty acids can be accomplished with carbon 11-labeled palmitate (1-11C-palmitate) and positron emission tomography. Imaging can be performed in either static or dynamic modes. In normal subjects accumulation of the tracer is homogeneous throughout the heart. In patients with myocardial infarction, distinct defects in accumulation are seen. In dilated cardiomyopathy, uptake is spatially heterogeneous. Clearance of 1-11C-palmitate in normal myocardium is biexponential and homogeneous throughout the heart. Administration of glucose, or feeding, decreases uptake of the tracer into the early rapid turnover pool and decreases clearance of the tracer from that pool. In normal myocardium atrial pacing increases the rate of clearance; in ischemic myocardium the degree of increased clearance is attenuated. In patients with cardiomyopathy caused by long-chain fatty acid coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency, 1-11C-palmitate clearance is diminished compared with total myocardial oxygen consumption traced with carbon 11-labeled acetate. Thus positron emission tomography with 1-11C-palmitate permits assessment of patients with ischemic heart disease and cardiomyopathy of diverse causes, providing insights into both pathophysiologic mechanisms and the effectiveness of various therapeutic interventions.
- ischemic heart disease