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Semin Nucl Med ; 51(6): 633-645, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300228


White blood cells activated by either a pathogen or as part of a systemic inflammatory disease are characterized by high energy consumption and are therefore taking up the glucose analogue PET tracer FDG avidly. It is therefore not surprising that a steadily growing body of research and clinical reports now supports the use of FDG PET/CT to diagnose a wide range of patients with non-oncological diseases. However, using FDG PET/CT in patients with infectious or inflammatory diseases has some limitations and potential pitfalls that are not necessarily as pronounced in oncology FDG PET/CT. Some of these limitations are of a general nature and related to the laborious acquisition of PET images in patients that are often acutely ill, whereas others are more disease-specific and related to the particular metabolism in some of the organs most commonly affected by infections or inflammatory disease. Both inflammatory and infectious diseases are characterized by a more diffuse and less pathognomonic pattern of FDG uptake than oncology FDG PET/CT and the affected organs also typically have some physiological FDG uptake. In addition, patients referred to PET/CT with suspected infection or inflammation are rarely treatment naïve and may have received varying doses of antibiotics, corticosteroids or other immune-modulating drugs at the time of their examination. Combined, this results in a higher rate of false positive FDG findings and also in some cases a lower sensitivity to detect active disease. In this review, we therefore discuss the limitations and pitfalls of FDG PET/CT to diagnose infections and inflammation taking these issues into consideration. Our review encompasses the most commonly encountered inflammatory and infectious diseases in head and neck, in the cardiovascular system, in the abdominal organs and in the musculoskeletal system. Finally, new developments in the field of PET/CT that may help overcome some of these limitations are briefly highlighted.

Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 , Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography , Humans , Inflammation/diagnostic imaging , Positron-Emission Tomography