Contribution of PET Imaging to the Diagnosis of Septic Embolism in Patients with Pacing Lead Endocarditis.

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Amraoui S, Tlili G, Sohal M, Berte B, Hindié E, Ritter P, Ploux S, Denis A, Derval N, Rinaldi CA, Cazanave C, Jais P, Haissaguerre M, Bordenave L, Bordachar P.

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2016;9:283-90.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the role of 18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) scanning in identifying septic embolism in patients with lead endocarditis.

Background: Lead endocarditis may be associated with septic embolism, in which case the administration mode, type, and duration of antibiotic therapy must be adapted. However, diagnosis can be challenging: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cannot be performed in the vast majority of patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs). FDG PET/CT scanning has been proposed as a diagnostic tool for suspected CIED infection.

Methods: Thirty-five consecutive patients with lead endocarditis were prospectively studied. FDG PET/CT scanning was performed and analyzed blindly by experienced nuclear medicine physicians to assess for the presence of septic embolism 2 days before lead extraction.

Results: FDG PET/CT scanning identified septic emboli in 10 patients (29%): 7 with spondylodiscitis, 2 with septic pulmonary emboli, and 1 with an infected vascular prosthesis. Among the 7 patients with occult spondylodiscitis, 4 were asymptomatic, and 3 had back pain with negative CT imaging, MRI being contraindicated due to non MRI-compatible CIEDs. Antimicrobial therapy was adapted (double antibiotic therapy with good bone penetration) and prolonged. Among other important ancillary findings, 3 patients presented focal FDG uptake in the colon (1 adenocarcinoma, and 2 resected polyps) and 2 in the esophagus (both cases confirmed as neoplasia).

Conclusions: This study emphasizes the potential utility of FDG PET/CT scanning as a diagnostic tool for septic emboli in patients with pacing lead endocarditis. This promising diagnostic tool may be integrated in the diagnostic algorithm of patients with lead endocarditis because diagnosis of septic embolisms has a direct and significant impact on the therapeutic care pathway.

Link to abstract on PubMed