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Pulm Circ. 2012 Jul;2(3):365-72. doi: 10.4103/2045-8932.101651.

Comparison of 18F-FDG uptake by right ventricular myocardium in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension and pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with congenital heart disease.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Cardiovascular Institute and Fu Wai Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.


This study measured glucose uptake in the right ventricle (RV) of patients with pulmonary hypertension and investigated the relationship to hemodynamics and survival. Myocardial 18F-fluorodeoxy-glucose (FDG) uptake was measured using single-photon positron emission tomography (SPECT) in 24 patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and 43 patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). In both IPAH and CHD-PAH, RV FDG uptake (RV/LV ratio) was associated with pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR). A second SPECT scan was performed in nine patients after 6 months treatment with sildenafil. PVR decreased from 1683±426 to 1207±383 dyn s(-1) cm(-5) (P < 0.05) and cardiac index improved from 2.2±0.2 to 2.8±0.5 L/min/m(2) (P < 0.01). RV/LV FDG uptake decreased from 1.28±0.32 before treatment to 0.99±0.23 (P < 0.05). Survival in the IPAH group with a baseline RV/LV FDG uptake greater than the median value of 1.20 was significantly lower than that of the group with RV/LV FDG uptake below 1.20 (log-rank test, P < 0.05). In contrast, baseline RV/LV FDG was of little informative value in CHD. FDG uptake by the RV reflects the severity of PVR in PAH. Increased RV FDG uptake is a marker of poor prognosis in IPAH and is reduced in patients receiving effective therapy. It could prove useful in the early clinical assessment of novel therapies for PAH.


FDG uptake; PET imaging; pulmonary arterial hypertension; right ventricle

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