Detection of pulmonary artery atherosclerosis by FDG-PET/CT: a new observation

Al-Zaghal A., Aras M., Borja A. J. , Moghbel M., Demir Y. , Houshmand S., ...More

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE AND MOLECULAR IMAGING, vol.10, no.3, pp.127-134, 2020 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Page Numbers: pp.127-134


The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of FDG-PET/CT imaging to detect pulmonary artery atherosclerosis and to assess the correlation between pulmonary function testing (PFT) results and the overall pulmonary artery metabolic activity. Twenty-nine subjects between the ages of 57-75, with a history of clinical suspicion of lung cancer, underwent PET/CT imaging at 3 hours following the administration of FDG. Global FDG uptake in the central pulmonary artery branches was determined. Average SUVmax, SUVmean, and tissue-to-background (TBR) mean and maximum were calculated within each vessel. The degree of FDG uptake in non-COPD and COPD patients and its correlation with PFT were examined in this population. Furthermore, the results from patients were compared with those of 10 age-matched controls. Based on these data, the number of lesions with varying degrees of FDG uptake among patients was higher than that in the normal control group. However, there was no statistically significant difference in average SUVmax, average SUVmean, average TBRmax, or average TBRmean between non-COPD and COPD patients. This indicates that the atherosclerotic process is focal and is not diffuse in nature. Although the global quantitative data generated did not reveal evidence for diffuse artery inflammation in patients with COPD, qualitative examination showed clear-cut evidence for focally increased FDG uptake in the pulmonary arteries. This observation indicates the presence of atherosclerotic plaques which are prevalent in patients with COPD. Future prospective studies with larger numbers of subjects are needed to confirm this important observation.