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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging ; 48(1): 269-281, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695780


PURPOSE: The emergence of the novel SARS-CoV-2 pathogen and lethal COVID-19 disease pandemic poses major diagnostic challenges. The study aims to describe the spectrum and prevalence of thoracic and extrathoracic incidental findings in patients who have undergone 18F-FDG PET/CT during the first 3 weeks of the COVID-19 UK lockdown. METHODS: This is a single-centre retrospective controlled observational study. 18F-FDG PET/CT scans (n = 160) acquired from 23/3/2020 to 9/4/2020 were retrospectively reviewed for incidental findings in the lungs and extrapulmonary sites (heart, nasal sinuses, parotid and salivary glands, colon, large vessels, renal cortex, brain, spleen and testes). A date-matched control group (n = 205) of patients from 2019 was used for comparison. RESULTS: The total prevalence of suspicious findings was 26/160 (16.25%). Fifteen patients presented with incidental findings in the lungs, while eleven patients had only non-pulmonary incidental findings. There was a significant increase in the appearance of incidental 18F-FDG PET/CT findings during the 2nd week (OR = 3.8) and 3rd week (OR = 7.6) in relation to the 1st week. There was a significant increase in the average maximum standardised uptake values (SUVmax) in the parotid/salivary glands of patients scanned during week 2 in relation to week 1 (p = 0.036). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of incidental findings compared to the control group, but the number of pulmonary vs. extrathoracic findings was different between the two populations. CONCLUSION: The study provides a novel base of evidence to identify asymptomatic patients and those without symptoms strongly associated with COVID-19 with incidental 18F-FDG PET/CT findings suspicious of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the initial stages of the pandemic.

Asymptomatic Infections/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Incidental Findings , Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography/statistics & numerical data , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Female , Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Radiopharmaceuticals , United Kingdom