Assessment of cerebral blood flow in patients with eating disorders in the acute clinical phase using Tc99m-HMPAO spect
OBJECTIVE: To assess the status of cerebral perfusion in patients with eating disorders (ED) in the acute phase of the disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seventeen patients, with a mean age of 22 years, diagnosed with ED according to DSM-III-R (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria and under close clinical monitoring were studied in the initial acute phase of their disease. Brain SPECT with 15 mCi of Tc99m HMPAO was performed on all patients and assessed using visual and semi-quantitative analysis. The latter was carried out by obtaining left/right indices in sixteen symmetrical 5 x 5 pixel regions of interest (ROI) in three transverse slices, one below the cantho-meatal line and two above, at 2 and 5 cm, respectively. RESULTS; Visual analysis showed hypoperfusion of the anteroinferior region of the left temporal lobe in 7/17 patients, and in the homonymous region of the right temporal lobe in 1/17. Semi-quantitative analysis did not show statistically significant differences in the slices above the cantho-meatal line when the means of the asymmetry indices were compared between the anterior (frontal), middle (temporal and parietal) and posterior (occipital) regions of each slice, obtaining values ranging between 0.99 +/- 0.05 and 1.02 +/- 0.03. However, in the lowest slice, the anterior (temporal) region showed a mean asymmetry value of 0.89 +/- 0.15, and on comparing it with the mean of the asymmetry indices of the posterior region (cerebellum), it showed a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Patients with ED frequently show hypoperfusion of the anteroinferior region of the temporal lobe, predominantly in the left hemisphere, in the acute phase of the illness.