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ARTICLE |

Accuracy and Efficacy of Nuclear Scintigraphy for the Detection of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Thomas E. Garofalo, MD; Rashid A. Abdu, MD
Arch Surg. 1997;132(2):196-199. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430260094020.
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Objectives:  To determine the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of nuclear scintigraphy for the diagnosis and localization of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding and to determine whether nuclear scintigraphy accurately predicts the results of angiography.

Design:  Retrospective chart review. The following data were obtained from the medical records: age; diagnosis before scintigraphy; duration of bleeding; hemoglobin and hematocrit values; number and duration of blood transfusions; results of angiography and GI endoscopy; location of bleeding as determined by angiography, endoscopy, and nuclear scintigraphy; treatment received by patients; actual site of bleeding as documented in the medical record; and outcome of treatment.

Setting:  Community hospital in a city with a population of approximately 100 000 and a catchment area of approximately 500 000.

Patients:  One hundred fifty-five patients undergoing 161 nuclear scintigraphic examinations because of GI bleeding between January 1, 1989, and December 31, 1992.

Main Outcome Measures:  Diagnosis and location of GI bleeding as determined by nuclear scintigraphy and angiography and actual site of GI bleeding as confirmed by operative intervention or endoscopy.

Results:  Of 114 scintigraphic examinations for which the diagnosis and localization of GI bleeding were definite, results were positive in 56 (49.1%); of these 56, a definite location of the bleeding was shown in 51 cases (91.1%), and the bleeding was localized to its exact site in 22 cases (19.3%). Of the scintigraphic examinations for which results were positive, results of angiograms were positive in 7 cases, which gives nuclear scintigraphy a 39% positive predictive value for angiography.

Conclusion:  The routine use of nuclear scintigraphy is neither accurate nor cost-effective for determining the site of GI bleeding in the community hospital.Arch Surg. 1997;132:196-199

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