Usefulness of positron emission tomography/computed tomography in patients with valve-tube graft infection

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Abstract

Objective

Infection of valved aortic grafts is a rare entity whose diagnosis remains challenging. Positron emission tomography (PET)/CT has become a criterion for the diagnosis of infective endocarditis (IE) in prosthetic valves, but its role on ascending aortic graft infections remains unclear. This study aims to assess the diagnostic value of PET/CT in patients with valved aortic graft infection.

Methods

12 episodes with a valved aortic graft who had undergone a PET/CT due to suspicion of IE were prospectively included (group I) and compared with five controls free of infection who underwent PET/CT for other reasons (group II). Pathological uptake of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and its pattern at the prosthetic valve and aortic graft were studied.

Results

Diagnosis of IE was confirmed in 9 out of 12 episodes of group I. 18F-FDG uptake was detectable in eight out of nine cases with a final diagnosis of IE. The most repeated pattern of uptake was homogeneous around the valve and heterogeneous around the tube. There was one false-negative study. Of the three patients in which IE was ruled out, there were two false positives and one true negative. In group II, there were three patients with a positive PET/CT study, two of them had active aortitis and the third was considered false positive.

Conclusions

18F-FDG PET/CT shows high sensitivity in the detection of infected aortic grafts. Thus, this technique should be considered in the diagnostic work-up of patients with suspicion of aortic graft infection. However, further validation of this approach is needed.

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