Background and aims: 18F-Sodium Fluoride Positron Emission Tomography (18F–NaF PET) non-invasively detects micro-calcification activity, the earliest stage of atherosclerotic arterial calcification. We studied the association between coronary 18F–NaF uptake and high-risk plaque features on intra-coronary optical coherence tomography (OCT) and CT-angiography (CTCA) and the potential application to patient-level risk stratification.

Methods: Sixty-two prospectively recruited patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) underwent multi-vessel OCT, 18F–NaF PET and CTCA. The maximum tissue to background ratio (TBRmax = standardised uptake value (SUV)max/SUVbloodpool) was measured in each coronary segment on 18F–NaF PET scans. High-risk plaque features on OCT and CTCA were compared in matched coronary segments. The number of patients testing positive (>2SD above the normal range) for micro-calcification activity was determined.

Results: In 62 patients (age, mean ± standard deviation (SD) = 61 ± 9 years, 85% male) the coronary segments with elevated 18F–NaF uptake had higher lipid arc (LA) (median [25th-75th centile]: 74° [35°–117°] versus 48° [15°–83°], p=0.021), higher prevalence of macrophages [n(%): 37 (62%) versus 89 (39%), p=0.008] and lower plaque free wall (PFW) (50° [7°–110°] versus 94° [34°–180°], p=0.027) on OCT, and a higher total plaque burden (p=0.011) and higher dense calcified plaque burden (p= 0.001) on CTCA, when compared with 18F–NaF negative segments. Patients grouped by increasing number of coronary lesions positive for microcalcification activity (0,1, ≥2) showed decreasing plaque free wall, increasing calcification and increasing macrophages on OCT (respectively p=0.008, p < 0.001 and p=0.028).

Conclusions: 18F–NaF uptake is associated with high-risk plaque features on OCT and CTCA in a per-segment and per-patient analysis in subjects hospitalized for ACS.


18F-sodium fluoride positron emission tomography, microcalcification, acute coronary syndrome, optical coherence tomography

Link to Publisher Version (URL)


Available for download on Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Find in your library