New criteria for the diagnosis of infective endocarditis using 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging

J Nucl Cardiol. 2021 May 25. doi: 10.1007/s12350-021-02663-1. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine a qualitative scoring system and a semi-quantitative method of FDG-PET/CT imaging in the diagnosis of infective endocarditis (IE).

Methods: We retrospectively included 108 patients who underwent 18F-FDG-PET/CT for suspected IE. PET/CT scans were interpreted using a 4-point score (0 = no uptake; 1 = cardiac uptake < blood-pool activity; 2 = blood-pool < uptake < liver activity; 3 = uptake > liver) and semi-quantitatively using SUVmax and SUVmean of the suspected valve lesion, liver, spleen, and of the bone marrow (BM). BM and spleen SUVmean were normalized to the liver, and hypermetabolism (HSBM) was defined as a BM or spleen-to-liver ratio > 1.

Results: Comparing the score criteria results with the clinical final diagnosis, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy of qualitative criteria were 93%, 81%, 84%, 91%, and 87%, respectively. A definite IE was documented in 83% of patients showing HSBM and abnormal cardiac uptake, 44% with abnormal cardiac uptake, 28% with HSBM, and 10% with neither one.

Conclusion: The qualitative scoring system is helpful in the diagnosis of IE. The HSBM is an additional, reliable indirect sign of IE.

Keywords: Infection; Inflammation; PET.