FDG PET of infection and inflammation

Radiographics. 2005 Sep-Oct;25(5):1357-68. doi: 10.1148/rg.255045122.


Nuclear medicine plays an important role in the evaluation of infection and inflammation. Fluorine 18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is a readily available radiotracer that offers rapid, exquisitely sensitive high-resolution tomography. In patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, FDG positron emission tomography (PET) accurately helps localize foci of infection and is particularly useful for differentiating central nervous system lymphoma from toxoplasmosis. FDG PET can also help localize the source of fever of undetermined origin (FUO), thereby guiding additional testing. In the musculoskeletal system, FDG PET accurately helps diagnose spinal osteomyelitis, and in inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis and vasculitis, it appears to be useful for defining the extent of disease and monitoring response to treatment. FDG PET may be of limited usefulness in postoperative patients and in patients with a failed joint prosthesis or a tumor. Nevertheless, this relatively new imaging technique promises to be helpful in the diagnosis of infection and inflammation. FDG PET will likely assume increasing importance in assessing FUO, spinal osteomyelitis, vasculitis, and sarcoidosis and may even become the radionuclide imaging procedure of choice in the evaluation of some or all of these pathologic conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18