Molecular Imaging Helps Diagnose Diabetic Foot Infection

A study presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Society for Nuclear Medicine (SNM) indicates that using multiple imaging agents with a hybrid imaging technique can be a valuable tool for accurately diagnosing and determining treatment for a variety of diabetes-associated foot diseases.

“This new imaging technique is proving to be critical for managing diabetes-associated foot infection by providing comprehensive views of both anatomy and specific disease processes in the foot,” Sherif Heiba, MD, author of the study and associate professor of radiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, stated in a press release. “By using this molecular imaging technique with dual imaging agents, we were able to better diagnose diabetic foot infections and guide physicians to appropriate treatment for these diabetic patients.”

During the 3-year study, researchers used single photon emission tomography and computed tomography (SPECT/CT) — a hybrid molecular imaging technique — to identify foot disease in 23 patients with type 2 diabetes, who underwent a total of 57 studies. Participants received multiple molecular imaging scans using different imaging agents to evaluate for presence of bone infection, soft tissue infection, a combination of bone and soft tissue infection or other bony diseases. If mid- or hind-foot bone infection was suspected, an additional bone marrow scan was conducted. Results indicated that dual-agent SPECT/CT was highly accurate for diagnosing foot infection. In 84%t of cases, results of the scan determined the course of treatment or therapy, according to the release.

Additionally, the scan results led to conservative management or procedures that saved limbs that would have otherwise been lost in the vast majority of cases.

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