In the study, they evaluated the value of I-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)-N-(3-fluoropropyl) nortropane (I-FP-CIT) dopamine transporter single photon emission computed tomography (DAT-SPECT) to change management strategies of patients suspected of parkinsonism

This was an institutional review board-approved, retrospective study. DAT-SPECT scans ordered by movement disorder specialist and neurologists from 2011-2014 were reviewed.

Clinical data and radiological reports of 173 patients suspected of parkinsonism were reviewed. The DAT-SPECT scan results were correlated with clinical assessment and treatment changes.

Results

A total of 173 patients (104 male and 69 female subjects; age, 64.4 ± 12.6 years) suspected of parkinsonism were included. The median duration of symptoms was 36 months (range, 1-480 months).

Scans were most often requested when there was diagnostic uncertainty in clinical features (59.6%, 103/173) or to differentiate one other disease from parkinsonism such as Parkinson disease (PD) versus essential tremor (23.7%, 41/173), PD versus drug-induced parkinsonism (8.7%, 15/173), or PD versus psychogenic (6.4%, 11/173) or vascular (1.7%, 3/173) disorders.

Patients were classified, according to the DAT-SPECT scanning results, as those with abnormal DAT-SPECT findings (59%, 102/173) and those with normal DAT-SPECT findings (41%, 71/173). In patients with normal DAT-SPECT findings, follow-up management data were available in 76.1% (54/71).

The management changed in 39.4% (28/54) after DAT scan with starting a new appropriate medication or supportive therapy in 4.2% (3/28), withholding inappropriate dopaminergic treatment in 11.3% (8/28), or continuing observation in 23.9% (17/28). In patients with abnormal DAT-SPECT findings, follow-up management data were available in 78.4% (80/102).

There was the change in management of 37.3% (38/80), a new PD treatment was started in 89.5% (34/38). The dose of medication was adjusted in 5.3% (2/38), although the original treatment was not changed.

Parkinson disease treatment was stopped in 2.6% (1/38) and discontinued in 2.6% (1/38) based on a clinical decision of neurologists despite abnormal DAT-SPECT findings.

"DAT-SPECT findings impacted treatment decisions in 44.7% of patients suspected of Parkinsonism," said the author.