Several studies have highlighted the role of vascular 18F-NaF uptake as a marker of ongoing calcium deposition. However, accumulation of 18F-NaF is often inconsistent with localization of arterial plaque. Calcification activity and thus 18F-NaF uptake might prevail in the earlier plaque stages. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated 18F-NaF uptake in plaque of 3 different densities, using density as a marker of calcification progression. We also tested whether attenuationweighted image reconstruction affects 18F-NaF uptake in the different plaque stages. Methods: Sixty-four oncologic patients (14 men and 50 women; mean age, 65.3 ± 8.2 y; range, 26-81 y) underwent 18F-NaF PET/CT. A volume of interest was drawn on each plaque within the infrarenal aorta to assess mean standardized uptake value and attenuation (in Hounsfield units [HU]). Plaque was then categorized as light (,210 HU), medium (211-510 HU), or heavy (.510 HU). Standardized uptake value was normalized for blood 18F-NaF activity to obtain the plaque target-to-background ratio (TBR). During this process, several focal, noncalcified areas of 18F-NaF were identified (hot spots). The TBR of the hot spots was computed after isocontour thresholding. The TBR of a noncalcified control region was also calculated. In 35 patients, the TBR of non- attenuation-corrected images was calculated. Results: The average TBR was highest in light plaque (2.21 ± 0.88), significantly lower in medium plaque (1.59 ± 0.63, P18FNaF is a feasible option in imaging molecular calcium deposition in the early stages of plaque formation, when active uptake mechanisms are the main determinants of calcium presence, but that retention of 18F-NaF progressively decreases with increasing calcium deposition in the arterial wall. Our data suggest that non- attenuation-corrected reconstruction does not significantly affect evaluation of plaque of any thickness.
- <sup>18</sup>F-natrium fluoride
- Plaque imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging