What is the role of imaging in the assessment of disease activity in Takayasu arteritis?

Updated: Nov 14, 2018
  • Author: Jefferson R Roberts, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Imaging modalities for assessment of disease activity are limited by various factors, and no consensus has been reached on their sensitivity and specificity. Computed tomography angiography is limited by the amount of exposure to contrast. Magnetic resonance angiography is useful for providing information on vessel wall thickness, edema, and contrast enhancement; however, its ability to discriminate between acute versus inactive disease has been questioned.

18-Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is a promising imaging modality, given its noninvasiveness and ability to visualize regional distribution in the vascular tree. No consensus has been reached on its sensitivity and specificity in determining acute versus inactive disease. Increased vascular uptake may be visible on an18F-FDG scan performed years after the acute phase. [39]

Novel ligands such as radioactive PK11195 that bind to peripheral benzodiazepine receptors on activated monocyte/macrophages are under investigation to improve specificity of PET for active disease. [37]

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