18F-FDG PET and perfusion SPECT in the diagnosis of Alzheimer and Lewy body dementias

John T. O'Brien, Michael J. Firbank, Christopher Davidson, Nicky Barnett, Claire Bamford, Kirsty Olsen, Cam Donaldson, Karl Herholz, David Williams, Jim Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


Brain imaging with glucose (18F-FDG) PET or blood flow (hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime) SPECT is widely used for the differential diagnosis of dementia, though direct comparisons to clearly establish superiority of one method have not been undertaken. Methods: Subjects with Alzheimer disease (AD; n = 38) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB; n = 30) and controls (n = 30) underwent 18F-FDG PET and SPECT in balanced order. The main outcome measure was area under the curve (AUC) of receiver-operating-characteristic analysis of visual scan rating. Results: Consensus diagnosis with 18F-FDG PET was superior to SPECT for both dementia vs. no-dementia (AUC = 0.93 vs. 0.72, P = 0.001) and AD vs. DLB (AUC = 0.80 vs. 0.58, P = 0.005) comparisons. The sensitivity and specificity for dementia/no-dementia was 85% and 90%, respectively, for 18F-FDG PET and 71% and 70%, respectively, for SPECT. Conclusion: 18F-FDG PET was significantly superior to blood flow SPECT. We recommend 18F-FDG PET be performed instead of perfusion SPECT for the differential diagnosis of degenerative dementia if functional imaging is indicated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1959-1965
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Medicine / Nuklearmedizin
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • 18F-FDG PET
  • sensitivity
  • specificity
  • diagnosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • dementia
  • Lewy bodies
  • Sensitivity
  • Specificity
  • Diagnosis
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies


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