Association of 18 F-Fluorodeoxyglucose-Positron Emission Tomography Activity With Angiographic Progression of Disease in Large Vessel Vasculitis

Arthritis Rheumatol. 2023 Jan;75(1):98-107. doi: 10.1002/art.42290. Epub 2022 Dec 8.


Objective: To assess whether vascular activity seen on 18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scan is associated with angiographic change in large vessel vasculitis (LVV).

Methods: Patients with LVV were recruited into a prospective cohort. All patients underwent magnetic resonance angiography or computed tomography angiography and FDG-PET imaging. Follow-up imaging using the same imaging modalities was obtained ≥6 months later per a standardized imaging protocol. Arterial damage, defined as stenosis, occlusion, or aneurysm, and corresponding FDG uptake were evaluated in 17 arterial territories. On follow-up, development of new lesions was recorded, and existing lesions were characterized as improved, worsened, or unchanged.

Results: A total of 1,091 arterial territories from 70 patients with LVV (38 patients with Takayasu arteritis, 32 patients with giant cell arteritis) were evaluated. Over a median 1.6 years of follow-up, new lesions developed only in 8 arterial territories in 5 patients with Takayasu arteritis. Arterial lesions improved in 16 territories and worsened in 6 territories. Most arterial territories that did not have vascular activity on FDG-PET scan at baseline had no angiographic change over the follow-up period (787 [99%] of 793). Few territories with baseline FDG-PET activity had angiographic change over time (24 [8%] of 298), but of the territories that developed angiographic change, 80% had FDG-PET activity at baseline. Within the same patient, an arterial territory with baseline FDG-PET activity had significantly increased risk for angiographic change compared to a paired arterial territory without FDG-PET activity (odds ratio 19.49 [95% confidence interval 2.44-156.02]; P < 0.01). Concomitant edema and wall thickening further increased risk for angiographic change.

Conclusion: Development of angiographic change was infrequent in this cohort of patients with LVV. A lack of baseline FDG-PET activity was strongly associated with stable angiographic disease. In cases of angiographic progression, change was preceded by the presence of FDG-PET activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Giant Cell Arteritis*
  • Humans
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Takayasu Arteritis* / diagnostic imaging


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Radiopharmaceuticals