PET provides non-invasive index of carotid plaque inflammation

June 22, 2004

PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 22, 2004 - Plaque inflammation in the carotid arteries is a major risk factor for stroke. Currently, no method exists for quantifying plaque inflammation in living patients. Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston set out to test whether non-invasive PET imaging could be used for early detection and characterization of plaque inflammation of the carotid artery.

There are few reliable methods that can be used to identify inflamed plaque non-invasively before they rupture. Instead, physicians have relied on detection of blood vessel narrowing to predict which patients are at risk for strokes. However, blood vessel narrowing is a relatively poor predictor of stroke risk; most patients with severe carotid artery narrowing remain stroke-free for over 5 years without treatment, although surgery or medication may be employed when significant carotid plaque is found. Therefore, Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, MD, and his team sought a new means of characterizing carotid plaque. The researchers delivered their findings on June 22 at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's 51st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

For the study, the scientists studied ten patients with moderate to high-grade carotid stenoses (the narrowing of the carotid artery that can lead to stroke) to test their hypothesis that carotid plaque inflammation can be characterized non-invasively using PET with 18F-FDG (glucose labeled with a radioactive isotope of fluorine) as the imaging agent.

Within one month of PET imaging, the same patients underwent carotid endarterectomy (the surgical removal of plaque from the carotid artery), at which time their carotid plaque specimens were collected and inflammation was determined using immunohistological methods. The results revealed a correlation between FDG uptake, as measured by PET, and degree of plaque inflammation. Although the work is still in preliminary stages, the hope is that eventually FDG-PET imaging could be used to improve the prediction of stroke risk.

This is the first time FDG-PET imaging has been used to provide an index of vascular inflammation in human subjects," according to Dr. Tawakol. "The potential applications of the study are numerous. Obviously, early detection and better characterization of carotid plaque could enhance our ability to combat stroke. We also anticipate that the FDG-PET method could be used to test plaque-stabilizing drugs. Moreover, we hope that a similar method might be developed to detect coronary artery disease in the future."
The Society of Nuclear Medicine is holding its 51st Annual Meeting June 19-23, 2004, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia. Hot topics for the 2004 meeting include techniques for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease; advanced imaging for the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of cancer; nuclear cardiology; and the collaboration between nuclear medicine and bioengineering in the fight against cancer.

Society of Nuclear Medicine

Related Stroke Articles from Brightsurf:

Stroke alarm clock may streamline and accelerate time-sensitive acute stroke care
An interactive, digital alarm clock may speed emergency stroke care, starting at hospital arrival and through each step of the time-sensitive treatment process.

Stroke patients with COVID-19 have increased inflammation, stroke severity and death
Stroke patients who also have COVID-19 showed increased systemic inflammation, a more serious stroke severity and a much higher rate of death, compared to stroke patients who did not have COVID-19, according a retrospective, observational, cross-sectional study of 60 ischemic stroke patients admitted to UAB Hospital between late March and early May 2020.

'Time is vision' after a stroke
University of Rochester researchers studied stroke patients who experienced vision loss and found that the patients retained some visual abilities immediately after the stroke but these abilities diminished gradually and eventually disappeared permanently after approximately six months.

More stroke awareness, better eating habits may help reduce stroke risk for young adult African-Americans
Young African-Americans are experiencing higher rates of stroke because of health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, yet their perception of their stroke risk is low.

How to help patients recover after a stroke
The existing approach to brain stimulation for rehabilitation after a stroke does not take into account the diversity of lesions and the individual characteristics of patients' brains.

Kids with headache after stroke might be at risk for another stroke
A new study has found a high incidence of headaches in pediatric stroke survivors and identified a possible association between post-stroke headache and stroke recurrence.

High stroke impact in low- and middle-income countries examined at 11th World Stroke Congress
Less wealthy countries struggle to meet greater need with far fewer resources.

Marijuana use might lead to higher risk of stroke, World Stroke Congress to be told
A five-year study of hospital statistics from the United States shows that the incidence of stroke has risen steadily among marijuana users even though the overall rate of stroke remained constant over the same period.

We need to talk about sexuality after stroke
Stroke survivors and their partners are not adequately supported to deal with changes to their relationships, self-identity, gender roles and intimacy following stroke, according to new research from the University of Sydney.

Standardized stroke protocol can ensure ELVO stroke patients are treated within 60 minutes
A new study shows that developing a standardized stroke protocol of having neurointerventional teams meet suspected emergent large vessel occlusion (ELVO) stroke patients upon their arrival at the hospital achieves a median door-to-recanalization time of less than 60 minutes.

Read More: Stroke News and Stroke Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to