Purpose: In this study we investigate the relationship between (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) metabolism and future aneurysm expansion measured by serial duplex ultrasound. Current screening programmes are increasing the identification of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The management of these patients remains challenging and methods of risk stratification are sought.
Methods: Thirty-four consecutive patients [31 men, 3 women, median age 75 years, interquartile range (IQR) 71-78] with aortic aneurysms under routine surveillance with serial ultrasound were prospectively recruited for (18)F-FDG positron emission tomography (PET)/CT. A whole vessel type analysis was performed measuring the highest aortic wall (18)F-FDG uptake (standardized uptake value or SUV(max)), and target to background ratio (TBR) for each axial image and median SUV(max) and TBR value were calculated. Institutional Review Board permission and informed patient consent were obtained.
Results: Nine patients failed to undergo 12-month follow-up study (deceased n = 2, withdrew n = 1, failed to attend ultrasound scan n = 5, emergency aneurysm repair n = 1) leaving 25 patients for analysis. The median whole vessel SUV(max) was 1.70 (IQR 1.45-2.08). The median whole vessel TBR was 1.15 (IQR 1.00-1.40). The median aneurysm expansion at 12 months was 2.0 mm (IQR 0.5-5.0). The correlation (r) between (18)F-FDG SUV(max) and ultrasound expansion at 1 year was -0.501 (p = 0.011).
Conclusion: The preliminary findings from this observational longitudinal pilot study suggest that there is an inverse trend between (18)F-FDG uptake on PET and future AAA expansion. Aortic aneurysms with lower metabolic activity may therefore be more likely to expand.