Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 739–744 | Cite as

The value of FDG-PET in the diagnosis of thromboangiitis obliterans—a case series

  • Gerald HacklEmail author
  • Robert Milosavljevic
  • Klara Belaj
  • Thomas Gary
  • Peter Rief
  • Franz Hafner
  • Rainer W. Lipp
  • Marianne Brodmann
Original Article


Thromboangiitis obliterans (TAO) is an inflammatory vascular disease affecting dominantly the vessels of the extremities and is etiologically strongly associated with tobacco consumption. Different imaging techniques are generally used to exclude potential differential diagnoses. We investigated the value of 18 F-flourodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography ([18 F]FDG-PET) in the diagnosis of TAO. All consecutive patients with diagnosed TAO between Nov 2001 and Nov 2003 at our institution who underwent [18 F]FDG-PET in the diagnostic workup were analyzed retrospectively. Whole-body scans were conducted after a fasting period of at least 6 h and blood glucose levels lower than 180 mg/dl. The primary endpoint was defined as significantly increased vascular FDG uptake. Tracer uptake was visually determined and, in accordance with strength, divided into grades 0 to 3. In total, ten patients were statistically evaluated. The median patient age at the date of the first [18 F]FDG-PET was 41.5 years. Repetitive FDG-PET imaging was performed in seven out of ten patients (70 %). The endpoint was objectified in one of the initial examinations (10 %) and in another one out of seven follow-up scans (14.3 %). One positive [18 F]FDG-PET was observed in the pelvic vessels and the other in the infrapopliteal arteries. Therefore, increased tracer uptake could be observed in two examinations on two different patients (both with grade 3 tracer uptake) out of 17 conducted [18 F]FDG-PETs in total. The [18 F]FDG-PET was not a suitable investigative procedure for the diagnosis of TAO in the present patient cohort.


Buerger’s disease Diagnosis F-18-FDG-PET Thromboangiitis obliterans Vasculitis 




Ethical standards

The study has been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and has therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All patients gave their written informed consent for the [18 F]FDG-PET procedures.


All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Hackl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert Milosavljevic
    • 1
  • Klara Belaj
    • 1
  • Thomas Gary
    • 1
  • Peter Rief
    • 1
  • Franz Hafner
    • 1
  • Rainer W. Lipp
    • 2
  • Marianne Brodmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Angiology, Department of Internal MedicineMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of RadiologyMedical University of GrazGrazAustria

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