Pioneering research with combined positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) scans provides accurate detection and localization of foot infection in diabetic patients, according to an article in the March issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. PET/CT scans could potentially offer a single-step, noninvasive technique for the diagnosis of infection, said Society of Nuclear Medicine member Zohar Keidar, M.D., Ph.D., the articles lead author.
Keidar explained that foot infection is one of the most severe complications of diabetes. Diabetes can lead to decreased circulation in ones extremities. This poor circulation--and the reduced ability to fight off minor infections--put diabetics at risk for development of chronic infection involving bone and soft tissues. "Early detection of infection is crucial and may prevent amputation," said Keidar, explaining that antibiotic therapy can cure these infections if administered in time.
Keidar and his colleagues at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, used PET/CT, the novel technology that combines two imaging modalities in one device, in their study of foot infection. By using labeled glucose (radiotracer 18F-FDG), Israeli physicians demonstrated the presence of infection with PET imaging. CT scans showed the localization of the infection site detected by PET as well as structural changes in bone and soft tissues. "This combined imaging approach in a single session using a single device leads to better localization of the infection process and facilitates the diagnosis," noted the lead author of "The Diabetic Foot: Initial Experience With 18F-FDG PET/CT." PET/CT technology, which is being used currently for cancer evaluation, may be applied potentially to the investigation of infection during evaluation of prolonged fever, suspected infected vascular graft or limb prosthesis, he added.
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