Objective: The feasibility of a fluoride positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scan for imaging atherosclerosis has not been well documented. The purpose of this study was to assess fluoride uptake of vascular calcification in various major arteries, including coronary arteries.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the imaging data and cardiovascular history of 61 patients who received whole-body sodium [¹⁸F]fluoride PET/CT studies at our institution from 2009 to 2010. Fluoride uptake and calcification in major arteries, including coronary arteries, were analyzed by both visual assessment and standardized uptake value measurement.
Results: Fluoride uptake in vascular walls was demonstrated in 361 sites of 54 (96%) patients, whereas calcification was observed in 317 sites of 49 (88%) patients. Significant correlation between fluoride uptake and calcification was observed in most of the arterial walls, except in those of the abdominal aorta. Fluoride uptake in coronary arteries was demonstrated in 28 (46%) patients and coronary calcifications were observed in 34 (56%) patients. There was significant correlation between history of cardiovascular events and presence of fluoride uptake in coronary arteries. The coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events.
Conclusion: sodium [¹⁸F]fluoride PET/CT might be useful in the evaluation of the atherosclerotic process in major arteries, including coronary arteries. An increased fluoride uptake in coronary arteries may be associated with an increased cardiovascular risk.