OBJECTIVE: Vascular graft and endograft infection (VGEI) has high morbidity and mortality rates. Diagnosis is complicated since symptoms vary and can be non-specific. A recent meta-analysis identified the use of 18F-fluoro-D-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography-computed tomography (18F-FDG PET(/CT)) as the most valuable tool for diagnosing VGEI and favorable to computed tomography as the current standard. However, the availability and varied use of several interpretation methods, without consensus on which interpretation method is best, complicates clinical use. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of different interpretation methods of 18F-FDG PET(/CT) in diagnosing VGEI.
METHODS: A systematic review was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines. Data sources included PubMed/Medline, Embase, and Cochrane. A meta-analysis was conducted on the different interpretation methods for 18F-FDG PET(/CT) in diagnosing VGEI, including visual FDG uptake intensity, visual FDG uptake pattern, and quantitative SUVmax.
RESULTS: Out of 613 articles, 13 were included-10 prospective and 3 retrospective articles. The FDG uptake pattern method (I2 26.2%) showed negligible heterogeneity, while the FDG uptake intensity (I2 42.2%) and SUVmax (I2 42.1%) methods both showed moderate heterogeneity. The pooled sensitivity for FDG uptake intensity was 0.90 (95% CI: 0.79-0.96), for uptake pattern 0.94 (95% CI: 0.89-0.97), and for the SUVmax method 0.95 (95% CI: 0.76-0.99). The pooled specificity for FDG uptake intensity was 0.59 (95% CI: 0.38-0.78), whereas for FDG uptake pattern it was 0.81 (95% CI: 0.71-0.88) and for SUVmax it was 0.77 (95% CI: 0.63-0.87). The uptake pattern interpretation method demonstrated the best positive and negative post-test probability-82% and 10%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis identified the FDG uptake pattern as the most accurate assessment method of 18F-FDG PET(/CT) for diagnosing VGEI. The optimal SUVmax cutoff, depending on the vendor, demonstrated strong sensitivity and moderate specificity.