Preamputation evaluation of lower-limb skeletal muscle perfusion with H(2) (15)O positron emission tomography

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Jun;89(6):473-86. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181d89b08.


Objective: To establish whether muscle blood flow (MBF) measurements with O-water positron emission tomography could reliably identify patients with critical limb ischemia and detect and quantify a distal deficit in skeletal MBF in these cases.

Design: O-water positron emission tomography scans were performed at rest or during unloaded ankle plantar and dorsiflexion exercise of the diseased leg in 17 subjects with leg ischemia or on a randomly selected leg of 18 age-matched healthy control subjects. TcPO2 was evaluated with Novametrix monitors and perfusion of skin topically heated to 44 degrees C and adjacent nonheated areas with a Moor Instruments laser Doppler imaging scanner.

Results: The enhancement of MBF induced by exercise was significantly lower in ischemic than in normal legs, and the sensitivity and specificity of this phenomenon were similar to those of laser Doppler imaging or TcPO2 in identifying ischemia subjects. In addition, the exercise MBF deficit was predominant at the distal-leg levels, indicating the ability of the technique to help determine the correct level of amputation.

Conclusions: Skeletal MBF of legs with severe ischemia can be detected accurately with O-water positron emission tomography and could add valuable information about viability of skeletal muscle in the residual limb when deciding the level of an amputation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amputation, Surgical / methods
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ischemia / surgery
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry / methods
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Leg / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Probability
  • Radioactive Tracers
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Water


  • Radioactive Tracers
  • Water