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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2008 Mar;35(3):562-9. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

FDG-PET is an effective imaging modality to detect and quantify age-related atherosclerosis in large arteries.

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  • 1Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



The main aim of this research was to determine the changes of FDG uptake in large arteries with aging as visualized by FDG-PET imaging.


We examined the presence of arterial FDG uptake in 149 subjects (61 males, 88 females; age range 5-83 years) who underwent whole-body PET scans for the assessment of non-cardiovascular disorders. The subjects were divided into eight age decade groups, with at least 12 subjects in each group. The presence of FDG uptake was recorded in the ascending, arch, descending thoracic and abdominal segments of the aorta, as well as in iliac and femoral arteries. We then calculated the percentage of segments with visible FDG uptake for each age group. Mean SUVs were calculated for each of the arterial segments and compared among the age groups.


Among 149 subjects, 145 were noted to have visible uptake in at least one segment of the large vessels. Percentage of segments with visible FDG uptake increased with age (p < 0.01). Mean SUVs of the ascending aorta, aortic arch, descending thoracic aorta, iliac arteries and femoral arteries increased with age (p < 0.01).


Prevalence and intensity of FDG uptake in large arteries generally increases with aging. Increased FDG uptake likely represents the presence of active inflammatory process of atherosclerotic plaque. The magnitude of inflammation within the wall of the large arteries increases with aging.

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