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Diagnosis and follow up of aortitis in the elderly
  1. A K Scheel1,
  2. J Meller2,
  3. R Vosshenrich3,
  4. E Kohlhoff1,
  5. U Siefker2,
  6. G A Müller1,
  7. F Strutz1
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Nephrology and Rheumatology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, D–37075 Göttingen, Germany
  2. 2Department of Nuclear Medicine, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, D–37075 Göttingen, Germany
  3. 3Department of Radiology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, D–37075 Göttingen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr A K Scheel


Objectives: To evaluate the correlation of MRI and [18F]FDG-PET scans with the clinical course and inflammatory markers in patients with aortitis.

Methods: Eight patients with aortitis presenting with unspecific GCA-like symptoms were examined. Aortitis was diagnosed and followed up by [18F]FDG-PET and MRI. The aorta was divided into three vascular regions (ascending aorta, aortic arch, and descending aorta) to localise the aortic inflammation and compare both imaging techniques. Results were correlated with clinical and laboratory examinations.

Results: At diagnosis, 20/24 vascular regions from eight patients were positive by [18F]FDG-PET scan and 15/21 aortic regions by MRI. Patients were treated with corticosteroids and followed up for a mean (SD) of 13.3 (4.7) months. In [18F]FDG-PET, 11/20 (55%) initially pathological aortic regions returned to normal in the follow up examination, which correlated closely with the clinical and laboratory follow up examination. Conversely, in MRI, 14/15 initially affected vascular regions were unchanged.

Conclusions: [18F]FDG-PET and MRI are both effective techniques for detecting early aortitis and have a high correlation with laboratory inflammatory measures. However, during the follow up examination, [18F]FDG-PET uptake decreased in line with the clinical symptoms and inflammatory serum markers, whereas MRI scans gave more static results.

  • CE, clinical examination
  • CRP, C reactive protein
  • ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • [18F]FDG-PET, positron emission tomography with fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose
  • GCA, giant cell arteritis
  • PMR, polymyalgia rheumatica TA, Takayasu’s arteritis
  • VR, vascular regions
  • positron emission tomography
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • aortitis
  • giant cell arteritis

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