NTRODUCTION: We performed a meta-analysis on published data on the diagnostic performance of fluorine-18 dihydroxyphenylalanine ((18)F-DOPA) positron emission tomography (PET) in diagnosing and localizing focal congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI). MATERIALS AND METHODS: A comprehensive computer literature search of studies published up to 31 January 2012 regarding (18)F-DOPA PET or PET/CT in patients with CHI was performed. Pooled sensitivity and specificity, area under the ROC curve and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) of (18)F-DOPA PET or PET/CT in diagnosing focal CHI were calculated. The localization accuracy of focal CHI was also estimated. Seven studies comprising 195 CHI patients were included. RESULTS: The pooled sensitivity and specificity of (18)F-DOPA PET or PET/CT in differentiating between focal and diffuse CHI were 89% (95% confidence interval [CI]:81-95%) and 98% (95% CI:89-100%), respectively. The DOR was 74.5 (95% CI:18-307). The area under the ROC curve was 0.95. The pooled accuracy of these functional imaging methods in localizing focal CHI was 80% (95% CI:71-88%). DISCUSSION: In CHI patients, (18)F-DOPA PET or PET/CT demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity in differentiating between focal and diffuse CHI. (18)F-DOPA PET or PET/CT are accurate methods of localizing focal CHI. Nevertheless, possible sources of false-negative results for focal CHI should be kept in mind.