Positron emission tomography (PET) evaluation of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2002 May;23(5):431-6. doi: 10.1053/ejvs.2002.1646.


Background: aneurysmal disease is associated with an inflammatory cell infiltrate and enzymatic degradation of the vessel wall.

Aim of the study: to detect increased metabolic activity in abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) by means of positron emission tomography (PET-imaging).

Study design: twenty-six patients with AAA underwent PET-imaging.

Results: in ten patients, PET-imaging revealed increased fluoro-deoxy-glucose (18-FDG) uptake at the level of the aneurysm. Patients with positive PET-imaging had one or more of the following elements in their clinical history: history of recent non-aortic surgery (n = 4), a painful inflammatory aortic aneurysm (n = 2), moderate low back pain (n = 2), rapid (> 2;5 mm in 6 months) expansion (n = 4), discovery by PET-scan of a previously undiagnosed lung cancer (n = 3) or parotid tumour (n = 1). Five patients with a positive PET scan required urgent surgery within two to 30 days. Among the 16 patients with negative PET-imaging of their aneurysm, only one had recent non-aortic surgery, none of them required urgent surgery, only two had a rapidly expanding AAA, and in only one patient, PET-imaging revealed an unknown lung cancer.

Conclusion: these data suggest a possible association between increased 18-FDG uptake and AAA expansion and rupture.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aorta, Abdominal / metabolism
  • Aorta, Abdominal / surgery
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / metabolism*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / surgery
  • Aortic Rupture / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aortic Rupture / metabolism*
  • Aortic Rupture / surgery
  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18