OBJECTIVES: This study determined whether in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) of arterial inflammation (18F-fluorodeoxyglucose [18F-FDG]) or microcalcification (18F-sodium fluoride [18F-NaF]) could predict restenosis following PTA.
BACKGROUND: Restenosis following lower limb percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) is common, unpredictable, and challenging to treat. Currently, it is impossible to predict which patient will suffer from restenosis following angioplasty.
METHODS: In this prospective observational cohort study, 50 patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease underwent 18F-FDG and 18F-NaF PET/computed tomography (CT) imaging of the superficial femoral artery before and 6 weeks after angioplasty. The primary outcome was arterial restenosis at 12 months.
RESULTS: Forty subjects completed the study protocol with 14 patients (35%) reaching the primary outcome of restenosis. The baseline activities of femoral arterial inflammation (18F-FDG tissue-to-background ratio [TBR] 2.43 [interquartile range (IQR): 2.29 to 2.61] vs. 1.63 [IQR: 1.52 to 1.78]; p < 0.001) and microcalcification (18F-NaF TBR 2.61 [IQR: 2.50 to 2.77] vs. 1.69 [IQR: 1.54 to 1.77]; p < 0.001) were higher in patients who developed restenosis. The predictive value of both 18F-FDG (cut-off TBRmax value of 1.98) and 18F-NaF (cut-off TBRmax value of 2.11) uptake demonstrated excellent discrimination in predicting 1-year restenosis (Kaplan Meier estimator, log-rank p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Baseline and persistent femoral arterial inflammation and micro-calcification are associated with restenosis following lower limb PTA. For the first time, we describe a method of identifying complex metabolically active plaques and patients at risk of restenosis that has the potential to select patients for intervention and to serve as a biomarker to test novel interventions to prevent restenosis.