The role of FDG-PET/CT imaging in early detection of extra-cardiac complications of infective endocarditis

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2015 Jan;21(1):69-76. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2014.08.012. Epub 2014 Oct 29.


The exact incidence of extra-cardiac complications (ECC) in patients with infective endocarditis (IE) is unknown but presumed to be high. These patients, although mostly asymptomatic, may require a more aggressive therapeutic approach. (18)fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) is used for the diagnosis of infections, but its role in the early diagnosis of IE complications is still unclear. This study aimed to evaluate the role of FDG-PET/CT in the early diagnosis of ECC in IE and its implications for medical management. We prospectively studied 40 consecutive patients with a confirmed diagnosis of IE (according to the modified Duke criteria) who underwent a whole body FDG-PET/CT study within 14 days from diagnosis. The FDG-PET/CT demonstrated ECC in 17 (42.5%) patients, while 8 (38.1%) of them were asymptomatic. The most frequent embolic sites were musculoskeletal and splenic. Owing to the FDG-PET/CT findings, treatment planning was modified in 14 (35%) patients. This included antibiotic treatment prolongation (27.5%), referral to surgical procedures (15%) and, most substantially, prevention of unnecessary device extraction (17.7%). According to our experiences, FDG-PET/CT imaging was useful in the detection of embolic and metastatic infections in IE. This clinical information had a significant diagnostic and therapeutic impact in managing IE disease.

Keywords: (18)fluorodeoxyglucose–positron emission tomography/computed tomography; complications; embolic events; endocarditis; extra-cardiac.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Endocarditis / complications*
  • Endocarditis / epidemiology
  • Endocarditis / therapy
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Thromboembolism / diagnosis*
  • Thromboembolism / epidemiology
  • Thromboembolism / etiology*
  • Thromboembolism / therapy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18