CT abnormalities evocative of lung infection are associated with lower (18)F-FDG uptake in confirmed COVID-19 patients

Link to article at PubMed

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2020 Aug 18. doi: 10.1007/s00259-020-04999-1. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: CT signs that are evocative of lung COVID-19 infections have been extensively described, whereas 18F-FDG-PET signs have not. Our current study aimed to identify specific COVID-19 18F-FDG-PET signs in patients that were (i) suspected to have a lung infection based on 18F-FDG-PET/CT recorded during the COVID-19 outbreak and (ii) whose COVID-19 diagnosis was definitely established or excluded by appropriate viral testing.

METHODS: Twenty-two consecutive patients referred for routine 18F-FDG-PET/CT examinations during the COVID-19 outbreak (March 25th to May 15th 2020) and for whom CT slices were evocative of a lung infection were included in the study. All patients had undergone a SARS-COV-2 diagnostic test to confirm COVID-19 infection (positivity was based on molecular and/or serological tests) or exclude it (negativity of at least the serological test).

RESULTS: Eleven patients were confirmed to be affected by COVID-19 (COVID+), whereas the other eleven patients were not (COVID-) and were predominantly suspected of having bacterial pneumonia. CT abnormalities were not significantly different between COVID+ and COVID- groups, although trends toward larger CT abnormalities (p = 0.16) and lower rates of consolidation patterns (0.09) were observed in the COVID+ group. The maximal standardized uptake values (SUVmax) of lung areas with CT abnormalities were however significantly lower in the COVID+ than the COVID- group (3.7 ± 1.9 vs. 6.9 ± 4.1, p = 0.03), with the highest SUVmax consistently not associated with COVID-19.

CONCLUSION: Among CT abnormalities evocative of lung infection, those related to COVID-19 are associated with a more limited 18F-FDG uptake. This observation may help improve our ability to detect COVID-19 patients.

PMID:32808079 | DOI:10.1007/s00259-020-04999-1

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