Renal blood flow measurement by positron emission tomography using 15O-labeled water

Kidney Int. 2000 Jun;57(6):2511-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.2000.00110.x.


Background: Only few noninvasive methods have the potential to quantitate renal blood flow (RBF) in humans. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a clinical imaging method that can be used to measure the tissue blood flow noninvasively. The purpose of this study was to validate PET measurement of RBF using 15O-labeled water (H215O), a tracer that allows repeated measurements at short time intervals.

Methods: RBF was measured in six pigs by PET and by radioactive microspheres (MS). Three measurements were performed in each pig at baseline (BL), during vascular expansion and dopamine infusion (DA; 20 microg. kg-1. min-1 intravenously), and during angiotensin II (Ang II) infusion (50 ng. kg-1. min-1 intravenously). RBF was estimated from aortic and renal tracer kinetics using a model adapted from the blood flow model described by Kety and Smith.

Results: PET and MS values correlated strongly (y = 0.79x + 42, r = 0.93, P < 0.0001) over the RBF range from 100 to 500 mL. min-1. 100 g-1. Pharmacologically induced changes were significant and were measured equally well by PET and MS: 38 and 39%, respectively, below BL (P < 0.005 and P < 0.05) under Ang II, and 47 and 48%, respectively, above BL (P < 0.005 and P < 0.01) under DA. A Bland and Altman representation showed a low average difference of -17 +/- 45 mL. min-1. 100 g-1 (mean +/- SD).

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this study provides the first validation of RBF measurement by PET using H215O over a large range of RBF values (100 to 500 mL. min-1. 100 g-1), which correspond to RBF values in both healthy subjects and in patients suffering from chronic renal failure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging*
  • Microspheres
  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Renal Circulation*
  • Swine
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Water


  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Water