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Open Heart ; 8(2)2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1346091


OBJECTIVES: We aimed to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac diagnostic testing and practice and to assess its impact in different regions in Europe. METHODS: The online survey organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency Division of Human Health collected information on changes in cardiac imaging procedural volumes between March 2019 and March/April 2020. Data were collected from 909 centres in 108 countries. RESULTS: Centres in Northern and Southern Europe were more likely to cancel all outpatient activities compared with Western and Eastern Europe. There was a greater reduction in total procedure volumes in Europe compared with the rest of the world in March 2020 (45% vs 41%, p=0.003), with a more marked reduction in Southern Europe (58%), but by April 2020 this was similar in Europe and the rest of the world (69% vs 63%, p=0.261). Regional variations were apparent between imaging modalities, but the largest reductions were in Southern Europe for nearly all modalities. In March 2020, location in Southern Europe was the only independent predictor of the reduction in procedure volume. However, in April 2020, lower gross domestic product and higher COVID-19 deaths were the only independent predictors. CONCLUSION: The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on care of patients with cardiac disease, with substantial regional variations in Europe. This has potential long-term implications for patients and plans are required to enable the diagnosis of non-COVID-19 conditions during the ongoing pandemic.

COVID-19 , Cardiac Imaging Techniques/trends , Cardiologists/trends , Healthcare Disparities/trends , Heart Diseases/diagnostic imaging , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/trends , Europe , Health Care Surveys , Humans , Predictive Value of Tests
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