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Cardiovascular diseases

Visualization of focal inflammation and microcalcification with PET/CT before plaques are visible on CT scans

Carotid atherosclerosis is a major cause of stroke. Traditionally, we do not examine for pre-symptomatic carotid atherosclerosis, and therapy is predominantly late state repair rather than early phase intervention. The latter requires early detection with grading of extent and activity of disease. One approach is positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and sodium fluoride (NaF), showing focal inflammation and microcalcification, respectively, long before macrocalcifications become detectable by ultrasound, CT (by means of the Agatston score) or magnetic resonance Imaging. We aim to demonstrate that (1) NaF-PET demonstrates early carotid microcalcification as predecessor of CT-visible macrocalcification, (2) such changes are more prevalent in diabetics than non-diabetics, and (3) high-dose statin therapy can reduce early phase carotid atherosclerosis. We are collaborating closely with the research groups of Abass Alavi (University of Pennsylvania) and Lars Edenbrandt (University of Gothenburg), the latter of which concerning artificial intelligence and medical imaging (

Group leader
Oke Gerke, Biostatistician, Professor in Clinical Biostatistics in Diagnostic Research, PhD
Department of Nuclear Medicine
Odense University Hospital
Kløvervænget 47
DK-5000 Odense C
Phone: +45 30171885

Members of the group
Poul Flemming Høilund-Carlsen, Professor, MD, PhD, DMSci, Prof (Hon)
Allan Johansen, Head of Department, MD, PhD, DMSc
Anders Thomassen, MD, PhD
Kate Rewers, MD
Svend Hvidsten, Medical Physicist, MSc
Reza Piri, MD, PhD student
Lars Edenbrandt, Professor, MD
Abass Alavi, Professor, MD, MD(Hon), PhD(Hon), DSc(Hon)

Ongoing projects

  • CAPRI: Carotid artery PET to reveal incipient carotid atherosclerosis (RP, PFHC, AA, OG)
  • IDA: Individualized treatment of type 2 diabetes in general practice (PFHC, RP)
  • IMR: Index of microcirculatory resistance’s correlation with fractional flow reserve, collateral flow index, coronary stress PET/CT, myocardial perfusion imaging, and stress echography (AT, PFHC, AJ)
  • PETITE: 18F-FDG-PET/CT angiography in the diagnostic workup of infectious endocarditis (KR, AT, OG)
  • SINBA: Simvastatin to attenuate CV calcification and stimulate bone metabolism (PFHC, AT)
  • SPIREN: Effect of Spironolactone on patients with kidney transplantations (AJ)
  • STAM: 99mTc-DPD scintigraphy and heart MRI in cardiomyopathy after aortic valve transplantation (post doc) 

Last Updated 17.05.2024