Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: assessment with scintigraphy with 99mTc white blood cells

Radiology. 1999 Aug;212(2):507-13. doi: 10.1148/radiology.212.2.r99au45507.


Purpose: To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of scintigraphy with technetium 99m white blood cells (WBC) for detection of colonic inflammation in children with and children without inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Materials and methods: In 215 patients, uptake of 99mTc WBC in 3,440 bowel segments was graded. In 137 of the 215 patients, the 99mTc WBC scans were interpreted blindly and findings compared with results at colonoscopy and endoscopic biopsy. Planar, single photon emission computed tomographic, and maximum-activity-projection images were reviewed together. In 78 children without recent endoscopic biopsy results, 99mTc WBC scan findings were compared with laboratory values, the gastroenterologist's initial clinical assessment, and findings at long-term clinical follow-up.

Results: In 128 of 137 children with recent biopsies, findings at histologic examination and on 99mTc WBC scans were correlated. There were seven false-negative and two false-positive studies. Sensitivity was 90%, specificity 97%, positive predictive value 97%, negative predictive value 93%, prevalence of disease 53%, and overall accuracy 93%. In 75 of 78 (96%) children without recent biopsies, 99mTc WBC scan findings were consistent with the laboratory values, gastroenterologist's clinical assessment, and long-term clinical follow-up findings.

Conclusion: Scintigraphy with 99mTc WBC is a useful noninvasive diagnostic test to determine the extent and distribution of inflammation in children with IBD.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Leukocytes
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Technetium*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon


  • Technetium