PET/CT in giant cell arteritis: High 18F-FDG uptake in the temporal, occipital and vertebral arteries

Rev Esp Med Nucl Imagen Mol. 2016 Nov-Dec;35(6):398-401. doi: 10.1016/j.remn.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 May 10.
[Article in English, Spanish]


18F-FDG PET/CT imaging is useful in patients with fever of unknown origin and can detect giant cell arteritis in extracranial large arteries. However, it is usually assumed that temporal arteries cannot be visualized with a PET/CT scanner due to their small diameter. Three patients with clinical symptoms of temporal arteritis were examined using a standard whole body PET/CT protocol (skull base - mid thighs) followed by a head PET/CT scan using the brain protocol. High 18F-FDG uptake in the aorta and some arterial branches were detected in all 3 patients with the whole body protocol. Using the brain protocol, head imaging led to detection of high 18F-FDG uptake in temporal arteries as well as in their branches (3 patients), in occipital arteries (2 patients) and also in vertebral arteries (3 patients).

Keywords: (18)F-FDG PET/CT; (18)F-FDG PET/TC; Arteritis de células gigantes; Giant cell arteritis; Large-vessel vasculitis; Positron emission tomography; Tomografía por emisión de positrones; Vasculitis de vaso grande.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18* / pharmacokinetics
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals* / pharmacokinetics
  • Temporal Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporal Arteries / metabolism
  • Vertebral Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Vertebral Artery / metabolism


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18