Value of F-18 FDG hybrid camera PET and MRI in early takayasu aortitis

Eur Radiol. 2003 Feb;13(2):400-5. doi: 10.1007/s00330-002-1518-8. Epub 2002 Jun 29.


Takayasu aortitis (TA) is a chronic inflammatory and fibrotic vasculitis of large- and medium-sized arteries. Early stages of the disease show a panarteritis and inflammatory wall thickening of the aorta and its branches, whereas advanced (fibrotic) stages comprise stenosis, aneurismatic transformation and occlusion. Magnetic resonance imaging visualises early-stage disease with high accuracy and is considered to be the method of choice in the diagnosis of TA. The aim of this article is the detailed comparison of FDG-PET performed with a hybrid camera and MR imaging in five patients with early TA. Five patients (median age 60 years) were enrolled during an ongoing prospective study on [18F]2'-deoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) hybrid camera PET in patients with fever of unknown origin (FUO). These patients underwent MR imaging after establishing the diagnosis of TA. Abnormal FDG uptake in the wall of the aorta was noted in all patients. The bracheocephalic artery and the common carotid arteries were visualized in 3 cases. Increased uptake of the subclavian artery was found in 3 patients and in 4 patients pathological uptake was noted in the ilio-femoral vessels. Of 34 vascular regions studied, 26 (76%) showed elevated FDG uptake. On transversal MR images vessel wall thickening and contrast enhancement of the thoracic aorta was found in 4 patients (ascending aorta/aortic arch: n=2; descending aorta: n=3; abdominal aorta: n=1). Additionally, vessel wall pathologies of the subclavian and the common carotid arteries could be shown in 1 patient and in another patient in the ilio-femoral arteries. No abnormalities were found using contrast-enhanced MR angiography. Of 28 vascular regions studied, 9 (32%) showed vasculitis on MRI. The FDG-PET is a suitable whole-body screening method in the primary diagnosis of early TA, especially in those cases with early disease that present with uncharacteristic symptoms such as FUO. Both MRI and MRA remain indispensable in the exact determination of the pathomorphological changes and in the documentation of complications such as stenosis, aneurismatic transformation and occlusion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Aorta, Thoracic / pathology
  • Aortitis / diagnosis*
  • Arteries / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fever of Unknown Origin / etiology*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Takayasu Arteritis / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18