18 F-FDG PET/CT findings of COVID-19: a series of four highly suspected cases

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2020 May;47(5):1281-1286. doi: 10.1007/s00259-020-04734-w. Epub 2020 Feb 22.

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this case series is to illustrate the 18F-FDG PET/CT findings of patients with acute respiratory disease caused by COVID-19 in Wuhan, Hubei province of China.

Methods: We describe the 18F-FDG PET/CT results from four patients who were admitted to the hospital with respiratory symptoms and fever between January 13 and January 20, 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak was still unrecognized and the virus infectivity was unknown. A retrospective review of the patients' medical history, clinical and laboratory data, as well as imaging findings strongly suggested a diagnosis of COVID-19.

Results: All patients had peripheral ground-glass opacities and/or lung consolidations in more than two pulmonary lobes. Lung lesions were characterized by a high 18F-FDG uptake and there was evidence of lymph node involvement. Conversely, disseminated disease was absent, a finding suggesting that COVID-19 has pulmonary tropism.

Conclusions: Although 18F-FDG PET/CT cannot be routinely used in an emergency setting and is generally not recommended for infectious diseases, our pilot data shed light on the potential clinical utility of this imaging technique in the differential diagnosis of complex cases.

Keywords: 18F-FDG PET/CT; Acute respiratory disease; COVID-19; Consolidative opacities; Ground-glass opacities; Infection; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cough / etiology
  • Female
  • Fever / etiology
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnostic imaging*
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography

Substances

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2