Cholesterol Emboli Syndrome in Type 2 Diabetes: The Disease History of a Case Evaluated with Renal Scintigraphy

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The Review of Diabetic Studies,2005,2,2,92-96.
Published:May 2005
Type:Case Report
Author(s) affiliations:

Giorgina B. Piccoli1, Antonella Sargiotto2, Manuel Burdese1, Loredana Colla1, Donatella Bilucaglia1, Andrea Magnano1, Valentina Consiglio1, Giuseppe Piccoli1, Giuseppe Picciotto2

1Chair of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Turin, Corso Bramante 86-88, 10126 Torino, Italy.

2S.C. Nuclear Medicine, A.S.O. “S. Giovanni Battista” - Turin, Italy.


Background: Cholesterol crystal emboli syndrome (CCE) is an emerging disease, whose progression reflects the currently observed increase in cardiovascular diseases. Diagnostic criteria shifted from pathological to clinical criteria: creatinine increase, skin lesions, recent endovascular interventions and severe vasculopathy). Diabetes, hypertension and diffuse vascular disease are inter-linked, major risk factors. The role of imaging techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease has been little investigated thus far. The AIM of this report is to describe a case exemplifying the potentials for renal scintigraphy in CCE, an emerging disease in type 2 diabetic patients. The Case: a 75 yearold, type 2 diabetic for over 15 years, obese, hypertensive white man was referred to the Nephrology Unit after an acute coronary syndrome. Stenosis of the left renal artery was diagnosed from the angiography. Serum creatinine (baseline: 1.9 mg/dl) increased after multiple angioplasties to 3.3 mg/dl, then slowly returned towards baseline (2.2 mg/dl), but rose, on referral, to 3.9 mg/dl, with an increase in acute phase reactants and peripheral livedo reticularis, a picture highly suggestive of CCE. The first renal scintiscan showed a reduction of the parenchymal phase, and a nonhomogeneous parenchymal pattern in the right dominant kidney. The patient was started on corticosteroid therapy with a prompt decrease in creatinine; four days later (creatinine 2.5 mg/dl) a second scintiscan showed an improvement of the peak time and of the radionuclide parenchymal transit, and was further confirmed two months later (creatinine 2.2 mg/dl). No modification was detected in the left kidney, presumably mechanically “protected” from the cholesterol shedding by the stenosis. Conclusion: This is the first description of an imaging demonstration of the morpho-functional substratum to the rapid clinical response of corticosteroid therapy in a case of CCE and type 2 diabetes, underlining the potential of 99mTc-MAG3 dynamic scintiscan in this disease.