Article

FDG-PET improves accuracy in distinguishing frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease

University of California, Davis, Davis, California, United States
Brain (Impact Factor: 10.23). 11/2007; 130(Pt 10):2616-35. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awm177
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Distinguishing Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) currently relies on a clinical history and examination, but positron emission tomography with [(18)F] fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET) shows different patterns of hypometabolism in these disorders that might aid differential diagnosis. Six dementia experts with variable FDG-PET experience made independent, forced choice, diagnostic decisions in 45 patients with pathologically confirmed AD (n = 31) or FTD (n = 14) using five separate methods: (1) review of clinical summaries, (2) a diagnostic checklist alone, (3) summary and checklist, (4) transaxial FDG-PET scans and (5) FDG-PET stereotactic surface projection (SSP) metabolic and statistical maps. In addition, we evaluated the effect of the sequential review of a clinical summary followed by SSP. Visual interpretation of SSP images was superior to clinical assessment and had the best inter-rater reliability (mean kappa = 0.78) and diagnostic accuracy (89.6%). It also had the highest specificity (97.6%) and sensitivity (86%), and positive likelihood ratio for FTD (36.5). The addition of FDG-PET to clinical summaries increased diagnostic accuracy and confidence for both AD and FTD. It was particularly helpful when raters were uncertain in their clinical diagnosis. Visual interpretation of FDG-PET after brief training is more reliable and accurate in distinguishing FTD from AD than clinical methods alone. FDG-PET adds important information that appropriately increases diagnostic confidence, even among experienced dementia specialists.

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