Background: This study aimed to determine if delayed sodium (18)F-fluoride (Na(18)F) PET/CT imaging improves quantification of vascular calcification metabolism. Blood-pool activity can disturb the arterial Na(18)F signal. With time, blood-pool activity declines. Therefore, delayed imaging can potentially improve quantification of vascular calcification metabolism.
Methods and results: Twenty healthy volunteers and 18 patients with chest pain were prospectively assessed by triple time-point PET/CT imaging at approximately 45, 90, and 180 minutes after Na(18)F administration. For each time point, global uptake of Na(18)F was determined in the coronary arteries and thoracic aorta by calculating the blood-pool-corrected maximum standardized uptake value (cSUV(MAX)). A target-to-background ratio (TBR) was calculated to determine the contrast resolution at 45, 90, and 180 minutes. Furthermore, we assessed whether the acquisition time-point affected the relation between cSUV(MAX) and the estimated 10-year risk for fatal cardiovascular disease (SCORE %). Coronary cSUV(MAX) (P = .533) and aortic cSUV(MAX) (P = .654) remained similar with time, whereas the coronary TBR (P < .0001) and aortic TBR (P < .0001) significantly increased with time. Even though the contrast resolution improved with time, positive correlations between SCORE % and coronary cSUV(MAX) (P < .020) and aortic cSUV(MAX) (P < .005) were observed at all investigated time points.
Conclusions: Delayed Na(18)F PET/CT imaging does not improve quantification of vascular calcification metabolism. Although contrast resolution improves with time, arterial Na(18)F avidity is invariant to the time between Na(18)F administration and PET/CT acquisition. Therefore, the optimal PET/CT acquisition time-point to quantify vascular calcification metabolism is achieved as early as 45 minutes after Na(18)F administration.