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Danos, P.; Kasper, S.; Grunwald, F.; Klemm, E.; Krappel, C.; Broich, K.; Hoflich, G.; Overbeck, B.; Biersack, H. J. and Möller, Hans-Jürgen (1998): Pathological regional blood flow in opiate-dependent patients during withdrawal: A HMPAO-SPECT study. In: Neuropsychobiology, No. 4: pp. 194-199 [PDF, 326kB]


The aims of the present study were to investigate regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in heroin-dependent patients during withdrawal and to assess the relation between these changes and duration of heroin consumption and withdrawal data. The rCBF was measured using brain SPECT with Tc-99m-HMPAO in 16 heroin-dependent patients during heroin withdrawal. Thirteen patients received levomethadone at the time of the SPECT scans. The images were analyzed both visually and quantitatively, a total of 21 hypoperfused brain regions were observed in 11 of the 16 patients. The temporal lobes were the most affected area, hypoperfusions of the right and left temporal lobe were observed in 5 and 5 patients, respectively. Three of the patients had a hypoperfusion of the right frontal lobe, 2 patients showed perfusion defects in the left frontal lobe, right parietal lobe and left parietal lobe. The results of the quantitative assessments of the rCBF were consistent with the results of the qualitative findings. The stepwise regression analysis showed a significant positive correlation (r = 0.54) between the dose of levomethadone at the time of the SPECT scan and the rCBF of the right parietal lobe. Other significant correlations between clinical data and rCBF were not found. The present results suggest brain perfusion abnormalities during heroin withdrawal in heroin-dependent patients, which are not due to the conditions of withdrawal.

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