Cardiac infections include a group of conditions involving the heart muscle, the pericardium, or the endocardial surface of the heart. Infections can extend to prosthetic material or the leads in case of the implantation of devices. Despite their relative low incidence, these conditions that are associated with high morbidity and mortality involve a relevant burden of diagnostic workup. Early diagnosis is crucial for adequate management of patient, as early treatment improves the prognosis; unfortunately, the clinical manifestations are often nonspecific. Accurate and timely diagnosis typically requires the correlation of imaging findings with laboratory data. (18)F-FDG-PET is a well-established imaging modality for the diagnosis and management of malignancies, and evidence is also increasing regarding its value for assessing infectious and inflammatory diseases. This article summarizes published evidence on the usefulness of (18)F-FDG-PET for the diagnosis of cardiac infections, mainly focused on endocarditis and cardiovascular device infections. Nevertheless, the diagnostic potential of (18)F-FDG-PET in patients with pericarditis and myocarditis is also briefly reviewed, considering the most likely future advances and new perspectives that the use of PET/magnetic resonance would open in the diagnosis of such conditions.
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