Amyloid imaging may help diagnose cardiac amyloidosis, say researchers in an article in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Amyloid imaging is currently used to detect plaques in the brain.
There is no noninvasive imaging test to diagnose cardiac amyloidosis, which is associated with a high mortality. Early diagnosis is essential, before structural change to the heart tissue has occurred. Echocardiography is used to image cardiac amyloidosis, but a cardiac biopsy is needed to confirm diagnosis.
Researchers from Sweden undertook a small study using PET with 11C-PIB to visualize amyloid deposits in the heart. The group comprised 10 patients, who had been diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, and five healthy subjects. They all underwent PET/CT with 11C-PIB, and 11C-acetate was used to measure myocardial blood flow.
Researchers noted an obvious uptake of 11C-PIB in the left ventricle wall of all the cardiac amyloidosis patients, but not in any healthy subject. The agent was also found in the right ventricle wall of half the patients, and nine patients had signs of reversible uptake, with a maximum concentration of 10 to 15 minutes after injection.
Myocardial blood flow was significantly lower in the cardiac amyloidosis patients, but no significant correlation was found between myocardial blood flow and 11C-PIB.
“This study emphasizes the strength of molecular imaging for detecting an underlying and significant molecular aberration in a disease that presents with unspecific symptoms and signs,” lead author, Gunnar Antoni, PhD, said in a press release. Antoni is from the PET Centre at Uppsala University Hospital, in Uppsala, Sweden. “The potential for molecular imaging to provide valuable information for other diseases is of great value to the field of medicine.”