Imaging atherosclerotic plaque inflammation by fluorodeoxyglucose with positron emission tomography: ready for prime time?

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010 Jun 8;55(23):2527-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2009.12.061.


Inflammation is a determinant of atherosclerotic plaque rupture, the event leading to most myocardial infarctions and strokes. Although conventional imaging techniques identify the site and severity of luminal stenosis, the inflammatory status of the plaque is not addressed. Positron emission tomography imaging of atherosclerosis using the metabolic marker fluorodeoxyglucose allows quantification of arterial inflammation across multiple vessels. This review sets out the background and current and potential future applications of this emerging biomarker of cardiovascular risk, along with its limitations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteries / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Male
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18