Whole-body FDG-PET unravels puzzling fevers

September 1, 2006

Whole-body FDG-PET can reveal the cause of fevers of unknown origin, according to Dutch researchers.

Whole-body FDG-PET can reveal the cause of fevers of unknown origin, according to Dutch researchers.

Dr. W.J. Oyen, a nuclear physician at Nijmegen Medical Center, and colleagues drew 75 patients from one university and five general community hospitals with fevers of at least 100.4 degrees F that had persisted for at least three weeks. They performed PET after chest x-ray, abdominal ultrasound, and a cryoglobulin blood test failed to identify the fevers' origins.

PET was clinically helpful in 70% of the cases, in which it produced a positive result, and it contributed to the ultimate diagnosis in 33%. Clinicians can boost the efficacy of FDG-PET by excluding patients with a normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein. Positive PET findings never arose under those conditions, the researchers said. Oyen reported the findings at the 2006 Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting.