OBJECTIVE: Fever of unknown origin continues to be a diagnostic challenge for clinicians. The aim of this study was to confirm whether (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG)-PET/computed tomography (CT) is a helpful tool in patients suffering from this condition.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fifty-seven patients with fever of unknown origin were examined with (18)F-FDG-PET/CT as part of their diagnostic workup at the clinicians' discretion. The medical records were read retrospectively to establish the final diagnosis and evaluate the degree to which PET/CT contributed to the diagnosis.
RESULTS: The examination was considered helpful if it corresponded to the final diagnosis by showing uptake in an organ considered responsible for the condition, or if it was without focal findings, thereby excluding the patient from having focal infection or malignancy. It was perceived false positive if it pointed towards an organ not regarded by the clinicians as being related to the final diagnosis. It was perceived not helpful if the cause of fever was not visible on (18)F-FDG-PET/CT. We found (18)F-FDG-PET/CT helpful in 75% of patients, not helpful in 4%, and false positive in 21% of patients.
CONCLUSION: (18)F-FDG-PET/CT is a useful tool in the investigation of fever of unknown origin; it can reduce patient inconvenience and possibly costs to society if used earlier in the diagnostic process.