Utility of Amyloid PET Scans in the Evaluation of Patients Presenting with Diverse Cognitive Complaints

Yat Fung Shea, Warren Barker, Maria T. Greig-Gusto, David A. Loewenstein, Steven T. Dekosky, Ranjan Duara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The impact of amyloid positron emission tomography (Aβ-PET) in a "real-world" memory disorders clinic remains poorly studied. Objective: We studied the impact of Aβ-PET in diagnosis and management in the memory clinic and factors making the most impact in diagnosis and management. Methods: We studied 102 patients who had presented at a memory disorders clinic (the Wien Center for Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders, Miami Beach, FL) and had a diagnostic work-up for cognitive complaints, including Aβ-PET scans. Results: Following Aβ-PET, changes were made in diagnosis (37.3%), in specific treatments for Alzheimer's disease (26.5%) and in psychiatric treatments (25.5%). The agreement between diagnosis pre-Aβ-PET versus post-Aβ-PET diagnosis was only fair, with a Cohen's kappa of 0.23 (95% CI 0-0.42). Patients with MRI findings suggestive of AD (medial temporal and/or parietal atrophy) were more frequently amyloid positive than amyloid negative (66.2% versus 33.8%, p=0.04). Among patients with atypical clinical features for AD, but with MRI findings suggestive of AD, an amyloid negative PET scan had a greater impact than an amyloid positive PET scan on diagnosis (84.2% versus 17.1%, p<0.001), management (84.2% versus 40%, p<0.01) and discussion of results and advice on lifestyle (73.7% versus 22.9%, p<0.001). Conclusions: We conclude that MRI features suggestive of AD predict a positive amyloid PET scan. However, among those with MRI features suggestive of AD but with atypical clinical features of AD, the clinical impact on diagnosis and management is greater for an amyloid negative than an amyloid positive Aβ-PET scans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1608
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • amyloid imaging
  • diagnosis
  • management
  • memory clinic
  • positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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