Utility of three-phase skeletal scintigraphy in suspected osteomyelitis: concise communication

A. H. Maurer, D. C.P. Chen, E. E. Camargo, D. F. Wong, H. N. Wagner, P. O. Alderson

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Three-phase skeletal scintigraphy, consisting of a radionuclide angiogram, an immediate postinjection 'blood-pool' image, and 2-3 hr delayed images, was performed on 98 patients with suspected osteomyelitis. This procedure was evaluated by first interpreting only the delayed images, next the combination of 'blood-pool' and delayed images, and finally the three-phase study. There was no change in the sensitivity (12/13 = 0.92) for detecting osteomyelitis, but the false-positive rate for osteomyelitis decreased from 0.25 (21/85) to 0.06 (5/85). In 21 of 64 patients (33%) with abnormal studies, the 'blood-pool' image and/or the radionuclide angiogram led to a more accurate scintigraphic diagnosis. In 12 patients (19%) the 'blood pool' alone was enough to achieve the correct final diagnosis and was used most often to identify noninfectious skeletal disease. In 9 patients (14%) the radionuclide angiogram was required for an accurate interpretation and was considered essential most often in cases of soft-tissue infection. Both radionuclide angiography and 'blood-pool' imaging appear to augment the specificity of skeletal scintigraphy in patients with suspected osteomyelitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-949
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1981


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