(HealthDay News) — Nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) use declined from 2006–2011, although there was also a significant drop in myocardial infarction (MI) incidence over that time, according to a research letter published in the March 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Edward J. McNulty, MD, from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, and colleagues investigated trends in MPI use in a community-based population, as well as the use of other noninvasive imaging modalities.

The researchers found that from 2000–2006, MPI use increased by 41% (P<0.001), but declined 51% from 2006–2011 (P<0.001; adjusted odds ratio, 0.51). These declines were greater for outpatients compared to inpatients (P<0.001) and for those <65 years versus those ≥65 years (P<0.001). Between 2007–2011, stress echocardiography use remained unchanged. During the same time period, cardiac computed tomography use increased (P=0.01), which could have accounted for 5% of the observed decline in overall MPI use if performed as a substitute. During declining MPI use, incident MI also declined (by 27%; P<0.001).

“Although the abrupt nature of the decline suggests changing physician behavior played a major role, incident coronary disease, as assessed by MI, also declined,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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