PET scans predict development of lung disease following trauma

06/16/05

Research released at Society of Nuclear Medicine's 52nd Annual Meeting could guide early treatment

TORONTO, Canada--Positron emission tomography (PET) scans can predict who may develop lung disease after trauma, according to findings made public at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's 52nd Annual Meeting June 18–22 in Toronto.

"Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) may be identifiable prior to its clinical presentation by diffuse lung uptake on FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose) PET scans," said Kathryn A. Morton, M.D., professor of radiology at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. "This would identify patients who may benefit from aggressive immune modulation therapy," she added.

ARDS is a life-threatening condition in which inflammation of the lungs and accumulation of fluid in the air sacs leads to low blood oxygen levels; it can be caused by any major lung inflammation or injury (pneumonia, septic shock, trauma, aspiration of vomit or chemical inhalation). ARDS usually develops within 24 to 48 hours of an injury or illness, and the duration and intensity of the condition can vary considerably from patient to patient, with the mortality rate ranging from 35–50 percent.

About 15–30 percent of trauma patients develop ARDS, said Morton, who indicated that this "may be caused by an exaggerated immune response leading to systemic inflammation." She added, "Aggressive immune modulation therapy may prevent ARDS if vulnerable patients could be identified in advance. FDG uptake has been reported to occur in areas of inflammation." Morton said the study's results need to be confirmed in a larger series of patients.

PET is a powerful medical imaging modality that noninvasively uses special imaging systems and radioactive tracers to produce pictures of the function and metabolism of the cells in the body. PET scans are performed with an imaging radiopharmaceutical--most commonly FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose)--that can be imaged by a PET scanner. A PET scan provides a picture of the patient's individual physiology including, in this case, the lungs' function.

"The use of a PET scan to predict who may develop severe lung disease after trauma may help guide early therapy," said Bruce R. Line, M.D., a vice chair of SNM's Scientific Program Committee (General Clinical Specialties Track) and professor of radiology and director of the division of nuclear medicine at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md.

"FDG PET May Predict Development of ARDS In Trauma Patients" is written by SNM member Paige B. Clark, M.D., radiology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Preston Miller, M.D., surgery, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.; and SNM member Kathryn A. Morton, M.D., radiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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