JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of regional myocardial uptake in patients without heart disease under fasting conditions on repeated whole-body 18F-FDG PET/CT.

UNLABELLED: Imaging of cardiac (18)F-FDG uptake is used in the diagnostic evaluation of residual viable myocardium. Although, originally, hibernating myocardium was identified by a mismatch between perfusion defect and relatively preserved (18)F-FDG uptake, at present several studies propose that (18)F-FDG distribution can also be used alone for this purpose. Nevertheless, even severe myocardial (18)F-FDG uptake defects are frequently observed in cancer patients without any cardiac disease. The aim of this study was to retrospectively analyze global and regional (18)F-FDG cardiac images of 49 consecutive cancer patients free of cardiac diseases who submitted to 3 PET scans under fasting conditions.

METHODS: Images were acquired with a high-resolution PET/CT scanner. Three-dimensional regions of interest were drawn on the fused PET/CT images to measure the maximal standardized uptake value of the left ventricular myocardium (SUV(Myo)) as well as the average SUV of the left ventricular blood (SUV(LV)) and of the liver (SUV(Liver)). Analysis of regional myocardial (18)F-FDG uptake was performed on a subsample of 26 patients by an automatic recognition of endocardial and epicardial borders and subdividing the left ventricle in 20 segments. Regional (18)F-FDG distribution was defined as the percentage of SUV(Myo) in each region.

RESULTS: SUV(Myo) as well as SUV(LV) and SUV(Liver) did not change on average throughout the studies. This stability was not caused by a persistent pattern of myocardial (18-)FDG distribution. Rather, it was associated with important variations in both directions over time. Regional (18)F-FDG distribution was largely heterogeneous in all 3 studies, with a variation coefficient in each patient of 18% +/- 7%, 18% +/- 5%, and 17% +/- 5%, respectively. An (18)F-FDG uptake of <50% occurred in 78, 102, and 69 of 468 segments, although it disappeared in 55% of instances at subsequent examinations. Regional temporal variability was also marked: The absolute value of the difference in percent uptake was 10.1% +/- 7.3% from test 1 to test 2, 8.0% +/- 7.0% from test 1 to test 3, and 9.2% +/- 6.9% from test 2 to test 3. Overall from one test to another, uptake increased or decreased by >10% in 76 and in 116 of 468 segments, respectively.

CONCLUSION: The large spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the myocardial metabolic pattern, in cancer patients free of any disease, suggests a word of caution on the use of (18)F-FDG alone as a diagnostic tool for myocardial viability.

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