Signs and Artifacts in Amyloid PET

Radiographics. 2018 Nov-Dec;38(7):2123-2133. doi: 10.1148/rg.2018180160.


Establishing a diagnosis of Alzheimer dementia can be challenging, particularly early in the course of the disease. However, with disease-modifying therapies on the horizon, it is becoming increasingly important to achieve the correct diagnosis as soon as possible. In challenging presentations of dementia, such as patients with clinically atypical features or early-age onset of mild cognitive impairment, amyloid PET is a valuable tool in determining the diagnosis of Alzheimer dementia. Furthermore, preliminary data show that amyloid PET findings alter clinical management in patients who meet the appropriate use criteria. There are currently three U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved fluorine 18 (18F)-labeled radiopharmaceuticals that allow in vivo detection of cerebral amyloid deposition, which is a hallmark pathologic feature of Alzheimer dementia. Knowledge of the common imaging features among these three 18F-labeled radiopharmaceuticals in the normal and abnormal brain will enable the radiologist to more accurately interpret amyloid PET studies. As in other subspecialties of radiology, imaging signs in amyloid PET are helpful to distinguish if a region is normal or abnormal. This article reviews appropriate use criteria for amyloid PET, introduces the properties of the radiopharmaceuticals, explains the algorithmic approach to interpretation with examples of normal and abnormal amyloid PET scans with MRI correlation, and provides an atlas of regional amyloid PET signs and common artifacts. ©RSNA, 2018.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / analysis*
  • Amyloidosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Artifacts
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals