To determine the reliability of visual assessment of [123I]FP-CIT SPECT imaging by non-experts in dopamine transporter (DAT) SPECT imaging in patients with early drug-naive Parkinson’s disease (PD). Also, we explored the indications of DAT SPECT imaging in clinical practice by neurologists.
We collected [123I]FP-CIT SPECT scans of the Levodopa in EArly Parkinson’s disease (LEAP) trial participants that were made prior to recruitment, as part of routine clinical work-up. All scans were reassessed by an expert in DAT imaging. A survey on the use of DAT SPECT imaging was sent to all referring neurologists.
The concordance of the initial local assessment and the expert reassessment was 98.7%. The survey showed that neurologists requested DAT SPECT imaging in only 73.6% of patients to differentiate between a neurodegenerative disease and non-neurodegenerative parkinsonism.
Visual assessment of [123I]FP-CIT SPECT imaging by community nuclear medicine physicians in patients with early PD is reliable. Neurologists who request DAT SPECT scans are not always aware that the high accuracy is limited only to the differentiation between neurodegenerative and non-neurodegenerative parkinsonism. A significant portion of neurologists who request DAT SPECT scans is not always aware that the high accuracy is limited to the differentiation between neurodegenerative and non-neurodegenerative parkinsonism as DAT SPECT cannot reliably distinguish the various Parkinsonian syndromes.