Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2011 Jan;11(1):114-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2010.00663.x.

Usefulness of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography for diagnosis of asymptomatic giant cell arteritis in a patient with Alzheimer's disease.


It is often difficult to diagnose disease in elderly patients, in particular those with dementia, who do not present with typical symptoms. This report describes our experience of an elderly patient (an 83-year-old woman) who presented with a chief complaint of memory loss, showed a marked inflammatory response, and was diagnosed with large-vessel giant cell arteritis (GCA) on the basis of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) findings. She had no symptoms typical of GCA including jaw claudication, visual field defect and heavy headed feeling. Corticosteroid therapy resulted in a trend toward improvement in the inflammatory response and then she first recognized that she might have experienced slight dull headache before treatment of GCA. This was probably because this patient had large-vessel GCA, which produces a few symptoms in the head and neck, and because she had Alzheimer's disease and could not accurately describe her symptoms. Our experience suggests the usefulness of FDG-PET for the diagnosis of GCA, particularly in elderly patients without typical symptoms.



PMID:  21166966