Updates in the Impact of Chronic Systemic Inflammation on Vascular Inflammation by Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2022 Apr;24(4):317-326. doi: 10.1007/s11886-022-01651-2. Epub 2022 Feb 16.


Purpose of review: In this review, we focus on the clinical and epidemiological studies pertaining to systemic and vascular inflammation by positron emission tomography (PET) in patients with chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and psoriasis to highlight the importance of chronic systemic inflammation on vascular inflammation by PET in these disease states.

Recent findings: Recent clinical and translation advancements have demonstrated the durable relationship between chronic systemic inflammation and cardiovascular disease (CVD). In chronic inflammatory states, this relationship is robustly evident in the form of increased vascular inflammation, yet traditional risk estimates often underestimate the subclinical cardiovascular risk conferred by chronic inflammation. PET has emerged as a novel, non-invasive imaging modality capable of both quantifying the degree of systemic and vascular inflammation and detecting residual inflammation prior to cardiovascular events. We begin by demonstrating the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, discussing how PET has been utilized to measure systemic and vascular inflammation and their effect on subclinical atherosclerosis, and finally reviewing recent applications of PET in constructing improved risk stratification for patients at high risk for stroke and CVD.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Coronary artery disease; Imaging; Inflammation; PET.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / complications
  • Atherosclerosis* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Risk Factors