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OBJECTIVES: Scintigraphy using radiolabeled leukocytes is a useful technique for assessing intestinal infiltration in Crohn's disease (CD). However, limits of planar images include overlapping activity in other organs and low specificity. To investigate the usefulness of (99m)Tc-HMPAO (hexametyl propylene amine oxime) labeled leukocyte single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) for assessing CD lesions, in comparison with planar images. METHODS: Twenty-two inflammatory bowel disease patients (19 CD; 2 ulcerative colitis, UC; 1 ileal pouch) assessed by conventional endoscopy or radiology were enrolled. Leukocytes were labeled with (99m)Tc-HMPAO. SPECT images were acquired at 2 h and planar images at 30 min and 2 h. Bowel uptake was quantitated in nine regions (score 0-3). RESULTS: Both SPECT and planar images detected a negative scintigraphy (score 0) in the UC patient with no pouchitis and a positive scintigraphy (score 1-3) in the 21 patients showing active inflammation by conventional techniques. SPECT showed a higher global score than planar images (0.71 +/- 0.09 vs 0.30 +/- 0.05; p < 0.001), and in particular in the right iliac fossa (p= 0.003), right and left flank (p < 0.001; p= 0.02), hypogastrium (p= 0.002), and mesogastrium (p < 0.001). SPECT provided a better visualization and a higher uptake than planar images in patients with ileal and ileocolonic CD (6.45 +/- 0.82 vs 2.8 +/- 0.55, p < 0.001; 5.5 +/- 1.6 vs 2.6 +/- 0.7, p= 0.03), and with perianal CD (6.6 +/- 1.6 vs 3.4 +/- 1.2; p= 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: (99m)Tc-HMPAO labeled leukocyte SPECT provides a more detailed visualization of CD lesions than planar images. This technique may better discriminate between intestinal and bone marrow uptake, thus being useful for assessing CD lesions within the pelvis, including perianal disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Gastroenterol

Publication Date





344 - 354


Colitis, Ulcerative, Crohn Disease, Female, Humans, Intestines, Isotope Labeling, Leukocytes, Male, Middle Aged, Radiopharmaceuticals, Technetium Tc 99m Exametazime, Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon