Imaging of Coronary Inflammation with FDG-PET: Feasibility and Clinical Hurdles
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Conventional algorithms and noninvasive imaging tests for the identification of stable, hemodynamically significant coronary artery disease offer little insight into the detection of potentially vulnerable and inflamed coronary plaques, those most likely to rupture and cause acute coronary syndromes. Positron emission tomography (PET) with fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) serves as a potential novel modality for the identification of plaque inflammation, as initial studies in animal and human studies have demonstrated that FDG uptake correlates with macrophage accumulation and inflammation. Therapy with anti-inflammatory agents has also been demonstrated in the arterial vasculature to reduce plaque FDG uptake. Although imaging of coronary inflammation with FDG-PET holds tremendous promise, several hurdles remain to be surmounted prior to widespread clinical application.