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Difficult to diagnose cases of infectious endocarditis solved with SPECT/CT imaging agent
Date:8/1/2012

When combined with standard diagnostic tests, functional imaging procedures have been shown to reduce the rate of misdiagnosed cases of infectious endocarditis. According to new research published in the August issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) with 99mTc-hexamethylpropleneamine oxime-labeled white blood cells (99mTc-HMPAO-WBC) can improve the diagnosis of infectious endocarditis in hard-to-diagnose cases.

Infectious endocarditis is an infection of the lining of the heart chambers and heart valves that is caused by bacteria, fungi or other infectious substances. It affects 2-4 people per 100,000 each year, with 25-50 percent of the cases occurring in patients older than 60 years. Mortality from infectious endocarditis remains high when this condition is undiagnosed and, therefore, not adequately treated.

The diagnosis of infectious endocarditis is becoming progressively more challenging in the past years because of a variety of factors: the indiscriminate use of antimicrobial agents in some clinical settings, the increased number of individuals with predisposing or underlying conditions (i.e., frail and elderly, immune-suppressed persons), and the increasing number of interventional cardiovascular procedures and placement of valve prostheses, intravascular devices and cardiac devices.

"SPECT/CT with 99mT-HMPAO-WBC is a nuclear medicine technique currently used for the management of patients with infection; its application in infectious endocarditis has been restricted to few reports," said Paola A. Erba, MD, lead author of the study. "With this work we aimed to open new perspective for the application of this technique."

Researchers conducted 99mTc-HMPAO-WBC SPECT/CT scans on 131 consecutive patients with suspected infectious endocarditis. Patients with permanent cardiac devices were excluded from the research as the devices might hav
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Contact: Susan Martonik
smartonik@snmmi.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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