Diagnostic Accuracy of FDG PET/CT in Suspected LVAD Infections: A Case Series, Systematic Review, and Meta-Analysis

Marty C. Tam*, Vaiibhav N. Patel, Richard L. Weinberg, Edward A. Hulten, Keith D. Aaronson, Francis D. Pagani, James R. Corbett, Venkatesh L. Murthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe our experience with fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography computed tomography (PET/CT) in diagnosing left ventricular assist device (LVAD) infections and perform a meta-analysis of published studies to determine overall diagnostic accuracy. Background: Device-related infections are a common complication of LVADs and are linked to worse outcomes. Diagnosis of LVAD infections remains challenging. FDG PET/CT has demonstrated good diagnostic accuracy in several other infectious conditions. Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective case series of FDG PET/CT scans in suspected LVAD infection between September 2015 and February 2018. A systematic review of PubMed from database inception through March 2018 was also conducted to identify additional studies. Results: Nineteen FDG PET/CT scans were identified for the retrospective case series. The systematic review identified an additional 3 publications, for a total of 4 studies involving 119 scans assessing diagnostic performance. Axial (n = 36) and centrifugal (n = 83) flow LVADs were represented. Pooled sensitivity was 92% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 82% to 97%) and specificity was 83% (95% CI: 24% to 99%) for FDG PET/CT in diagnosing LVAD infections. Summary receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis demonstrated an AUC of 0.94 (95% CI: 0.91 to 0.95). Conclusions: FDG PET/CT for suspected LVAD infections demonstrates good diagnostic accuracy, with overall high sensitivity but variable specificity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1191-1202
Number of pages12
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • diagnostic testing
  • heart failure
  • infection
  • left ventricular assist device
  • meta-analysis
  • positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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