Clinical Factors Associated with Time-Specific Distribution of 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose in Large-Vessel Vasculitis.
18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) can detect vascular inflammation in large-vessel vasculitis (LVV). Clinical factors that influence distribution of FDG into the arterial wall and other tissues have not been characterized in LVV. Understanding these factors will inform analytic strategies to quantify vascular PET activity. Patients with LVV (n = 69) underwent 141 paired FDG-PET imaging studies at one and two hours per a delayed image acquisition protocol. Arterial uptake was quantified as standardized uptake values (SUVMax). SUVMean values were obtained for background tissues (blood pool, liver, spleen). Target-to-background ratios (TBRs) were calculated for each background tissue. Mixed model multivariable linear regression was used to identify time-dependent associations between FDG uptake and selected clinical features. Clinical factors associated with FDG distribution differed in a tissue- and time-dependent manner. Age, body mass index, and C-reactive protein were significantly associated with arterial FDG uptake at both time points. Clearance factors (e.g. glomerular filtration rate) were significantly associated with FDG uptake in background tissues at one hour but were weakly or not associated at two hours. TBRs using liver or blood pool at two hours were most strongly associated with vasculitis-related factors. These findings inform standardization of FDG-PET protocols and analytic approaches in LVV.