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PET Scans Could Help Predict Outcomes in Severe Brain Injury — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 16, 2014

PET Scans Could Help Predict Outcomes in Severe Brain Injury

By Kelly Young

Cerebral radiolabeled-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET scans may be helpful in predicting long-term outcomes in patients with severe brain injury, according to a Lancet study.

Researchers used clinical assessments as well as FDG PET and functional MRI during mental imagery tasks in roughly 125 patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, locked-in syndrome, or a minimally conscious state who were referred to a hospital in Belgium.

FDG PET had a 93% sensitivity for identifying patients in a minimally conscious state. PET imaging accurately predicted positive patient outcomes (i.e., presence of consciousness 1 year later) 67% of the time and negative patient outcomes 92% of the time. Functional MRI was generally less accurate.

Nearly a third of patients categorized as behaviorally unresponsive had brain activity consistent with minimal consciousness.

Reader Comments (1)

Claude S. Hambrick, M.D. Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, retired

Interesting article but I am not able to apply this new knowledge since I have been retired since 1992 and discontinued my license to practice several years ago.

PS: I still enjoy learning very much! CSH

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