Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1148/rg.315105222

PET/CT can be useful for diagnosing inflammatory processes that affect the cardiovascular system, identifying the extent of disease, and monitoring the response to therapy.

Inflammatory disorders of the cardiovascular system can affect the myocardium, pericardium, or vessel walls. Patients with myocardial and pericardial disease may present with chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath, symptoms resembling myocardial ischemia or infarction. The manifestations of vasculitis may include fever, weight loss, and fatigue, mimicking infectious or malignant processes. Because of the difficulty of differentiating these disease processes, patients frequently undergo multiple diagnostic examinations before obtaining a final diagnosis of myocarditis, pericarditis, or vasculitis. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging play important roles in the assessment of structural abnormalities of the cardiovascular system, and combined positron emission tomography (PET) and CT may depict inflammatory processes before structural changes occur. Familiarity with the PET/CT appearances of inflammatory processes in the myocardium, pericardium, and vessels is important for accurate and prompt diagnosis.

© RSNA, 2011

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Article History

Received: Oct 21 2010
Revision requested: Jan 7 2011
Revision received: Mar 29 2011
Accepted: Apr 29 2011
Published online: Sept 6 2011
Published in print: Sept 2011