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Etiopathologies Associated with Intercostal Muscle Hypermetabolism and Prominent Right Ventricle Visualization on 2-Deoxy-2[F-18]fluoro-d-glucose-Positron Emission Tomography: Significance of an Incidental Finding and in the Setting of a Known Pulmonary Disease

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Abstract

Objectives

The present study was undertaken to investigate the significance of 2-deoxy-2-[F-18]fluoro-d-glucose (FDG) uptake in the intercostal muscles (ICM) and prominent visualization of right ventricle (RV) in FDG-positron emission tomography (PET) scans and its implications.

Methods

Patients identified to have FDG uptake in the ICM with or without prominent visualization of the RV either incidentally or in the background of an existing explanatory cause at the time of FDG-PET studies were included in this retrospective study. These patients had undergone FDG-PET either for ruling out malignancy or for disease monitoring purposes in setting a proven malignancy. We reviewed the clinical and investigational records (including computed tomography [CT] thorax, chest X-ray, 2-D echo and pulmonary function tests, and arterial blood gas analysis) of the group with incidental FDG uptake for revelation of a pathology explaining such uptake.

Results

A total of 14 cases with 16 FDG-PET studies were identified from the retrospective examination of case records. One patient had three FDG-PET at different time points of his disease course. The patient population included 13 males and one female with age range 46–88 years. The patients were classified into two groups: (1) cases with isolated ICM uptake (n = 10); (2) cases with both ICM and RV uptake (n = 4). Among 10 patients with isolated ICM uptake, in six patients it was a serendipitous observation, whereas four patients had existing explanatory cause at the time of FDG-PET. The causes found to be associated included COPD, asthma, recent heart failure, interstitial lung disease (post external radiotherapy) and pulmonary embolism, atelectasis with pleural effusion. In all four cases with associated RV uptake, there was evidence of pulmonary hypertension (PH). Among these, in one patient this was a serendipitous observation. He had evidence of interstitial lung disease (ILD) in CT thorax, and 2-D echo showed moderate PH. The remaining three patients had cor pulmonale secondary to COPD, pneumoconiosis, and Swyer James Syndrome with associated severe PH. The SUVmax ratio of the RV-to-LV free wall ranged from 0.53 to 1.04 in the cases with prominent RV uptake. One patient had multiple FDG-PET studies and have shown reduction of RV uptake in the last scan consistent with the clinical impression of improvement of cor pulmonale.

Conclusion

Both intercostal muscle and prominent RV uptake in FDG-PET can be associated with a spectrum of causes (including both obstructive and restrictive airway diseases) that lead to breathing exertion. These are important markers, which could signify underlying pulmonary disease and pulmonary hypertension, respectively. Associated prominent RV uptake strongly indicates presence of pulmonary hypertension and the uptake in the right heart can subserve a valuable surrogate marker in the treatment- monitoring scenario of a known PH.

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References

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported in part by the International Union against Cancer (UICC), Geneva, Switzerland, under the ACSBI fellowship.

Author information

Correspondence to Abass Alavi MD.

Additional information

Part of this work was presented in the 2007 annual meeting of American College of Nuclear Physicians at San Antonio, Texas.

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Basu, S., Alzeair, S., Li, G. et al. Etiopathologies Associated with Intercostal Muscle Hypermetabolism and Prominent Right Ventricle Visualization on 2-Deoxy-2[F-18]fluoro-d-glucose-Positron Emission Tomography: Significance of an Incidental Finding and in the Setting of a Known Pulmonary Disease. Mol Imaging Biol 9, 333–339 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11307-007-0102-7

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Key words

  • Intercostal muscle
  • FDG PET
  • Right ventricle
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • COPD
  • Pulmonary disease