Quantitative H2[(15)O]-PET in Pediatric Moyamoya Disease: Evaluating Perfusion before and after Cerebral Revascularization

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2015 May;24(5):965-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2014.12.017. Epub 2015 Mar 23.


Background: Moyamoya disease (MMD) is an idiopathic intracranial angiopathy with a progressive spontaneous occlusion of the circle of Willis resulting in repeated ischemia if not diagnosed and treated early, especially in children. Prevention of stroke is achieved by revascularization of the affected cerebral regions. Functional imaging techniques such as H2[(15)O]-Positron emission tomography (PET) allow quantification of cerebral perfusion/blood flow (CBF) and in particular cerebrovascular response after acetazolamide (AZA) challenge. The cerebrovascular reserve (CVR) can then be calculated and used to identify regions at risk of infarct, hence allowing surgery to be specifically targeted and personalized.

Methods: Pediatric patients with diagnosed MMD underwent initial H2[(15)O]-PET scans at baseline and after stimulation with AZA. Indication for surgery was then based collectively on the extent of disease observed clinically and on magnetic resonance imaging, on the arterial territories involved, as seen in angiography and the respective regional CVR observed in PET. Cerebral revascularization surgeries were subsequently performed, tailored to the individual patient. Postoperative assessment of clinical outcome was augmented with follow-up PET (median duration after surgery, 10.4 months). CBF at baseline, after AZA and CVR were compared between presurgery and postsurgery scans in the areas supplied by the major cerebral arteries.

Results: Parametric images reflecting CBF, response to AZA and CVR clearly showed deficits in cortical but not subcortical regions or cerebellum. AZA-CBF and CVR deficits were most clear in middle cerebral artery and anterior cerebral artery (ACA) regions. In addition to the clinical symptomatology, angiography, AZA-CBF, and CVR images allowed the laterality of deficits to be clearly visualized for tailored surgery and the indication for targeted ACA or posterior cerebral artery revascularization to be assessed. Comparison of baseline CBF, AZA-CBF, and CVR between presurgery and postsurgery scans in revascularized areas revealed a significant improvement in baseline and AZA-CBF after surgery. Although no significant differences in CVR after revascularization surgery were found, a clear improvement of the deficits apparent in AZA-CBF in revascularized regions was found.

Conclusions: We demonstrate that quantitative H2[(15)O]-PET is a highly useful tool to direct surgical intervention in MMD. Detailed quantitative analysis of CBF changes and CVR after surgery supports a targeted surgical approach.

Keywords: Moyamoya disease; brain perfusion; nuclear medicine; positron emission tomography.

MeSH terms

  • Acetazolamide / pharmacology
  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebral Revascularization / methods*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Moyamoya Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Moyamoya Disease / therapy*
  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors
  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Acetazolamide