While amyloid imaging may now be most associated with detecting plaques in the brain, it has the potential to change the way cardiac amyloidosis is diagnosed. According to first-of-its-kind research published in the February issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) with 11C-PIB can positively visualize amyloid deposits in the heart. Currently there is no noninvasive test available for specific diagnosis.
Cardiac amyloidosis is a deadly disorder caused by abnormal amyloid deposits in the heart tissue. Early diagnosis before structural change to the heart tissue has occurred is important for disease prognosis and for treatment monitoring. Currently echocardiography is the mainstay of imaging in cardiac amyloidosis; a cardiac biopsy is used to confirm diagnosis.
"Imaging with 11C-PIB provides a non-invasive and specific means of showing distribution of amyloid in an organ. This gives a unique opportunity to follow and monitor therapy, as amyloid deposits in the heart should decrease with successful therapy," said Gunnar Antoni, PhD, lead author of the study "In Vivo Visualization of Amyloid Deposits in the Heart with 11C-PIB and PET."
The study included 10 patients diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis and five healthy individuals. PET/computed tomography (CT) with 11C-PIB was used to visualize amyloid deposits in the heart and with 11C-acetate to measure myocardial blood flow.