Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: It isimportant to evaluate the vaccine-related metabolic changes on FDG PET/CT to avoid confusing results. We here aimed to assess the frequency and intensity of regional and systemic metabolic PET/CT changes of patients who received the mRNAbased COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2-Pfizer/BioNTech) and to analyze possible factors affecting these changes. Materials and methods: Among the patients who underwent FDG PET/CT for any indication in our department between July 2021 and December 2021, 129 volunteer patients with a history of COVID-19 vaccination were included in this prospective observational study. Bilateral axillary lymph nodes, ipsilateral deltoid muscle, bone marrow, spleen, thyroid, and liver FDG uptakes were evaluated visually and semiquantitatively for each examination. Results: The frequencies of positive axillary lymph nodes after vaccination were 40%, 44.4%, 32.6%, and 44.7% in all, 1st dose, 2nd dose, and heterologous vaccination regimens groups, respectively. Maximum standardized uptake values of spleen, liver, and bone marrow were statistically high in patients with positive axillary lymph nodes than with negative ones (p < 0.05). Positive deltoid muscle uptake and diffusely increased thyroid uptake findings were observed in 10 and 8 patients, respectively. The median time interval between vaccination and imaging was 9.5 days for patients with positive axillary lymph nodes and 17 days for patients with negative nodes. In our study group, only 8 patients had a positive documented history of COVID-19 infection. Conclusion: Regional and systemic metabolic changes were occasionally found on FDG PET/CT imaging in patients who received the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. To avoid these timely decreasing changes, we recommend managing the ideal timing of imaging or vaccination and taking a careful history


COVID-19, vaccines, positron emission tomography, messenger RNA

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