Encyclopedia of Intensive Care Medicine

2012 Edition
| Editors: Jean-Louis Vincent, Jesse B. Hall

Positron Emission Tomography

  • Giacomo Bellani
  • Antonio Pesenti
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-00418-6_731




Positron emission tomography ( PET) is a functional imaging technique, which relies on the detection of photons generated by the annihilation of a positron emitted by an instable isotope labeling a compound administered to a subject.

Pre-existing Condition

In the daily clinical practice PET is used, in the vast majority of cases, for cancer staging and follow-up. PET, however, is an extremely flexible technique, that allows the in vivo imaging of several physiologic processes, depending on which tracer is used; for this reason PET has been applied, mainly for research purposes, to a large number of different diseases in both the clinical and preclinical setting. In the field of intensive care medicine most of the focus has been on acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).



A PET scanner is basically constituted by a ring of detectors surrounding the patient. The imaging procedure requires the...

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    Musch G, Venegas JG, Bellani G, Winkler T, Schroeder T, Petersen B, Harris RS, Melo MF (2007) Regional gas exchange and cellular metabolic activity in ventilator-induced lung injury. Anesthesiology 106:723–735PubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Bellani G, Messa C, Guerra L, Spagnolli E, Foti G, Patroniti N, Fumagalli R, Musch G, Fazio F, Pesenti A (2009) Lungs of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome show diffuse inflammation in normally aerated regions: a [18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose PET/CT study. Crit Care Med 37:2216–2222PubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Chen DL, Bedient TJ, Kozlowski J, Rosenbluth DB, Isakow W, Ferkol TW, Thomas B, Mintun MA, Schuster DP, Walter MJ (2009) [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography for lung antiinflammatory response evaluation. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 180:533–539PubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Musch G, Bellani G, Vidal Melo MF, Harris RS, Winkler T, Schroeder T, Venegas JG (2008) Relation between shunt, aeration and perfusion in experimental acute lung injury. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 177:292–300PubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Harris RS, Schuster DP (2007) Visualizing lung function with positron emission tomography. J Appl Physiol 102:448–458PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giacomo Bellani
    • 1
  • Antonio Pesenti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Perioperative Medicine and Intensive Care A.O. Ospedale S. GerardoUniversity of Milan-BicoccaMonzaItaly