The use of gallium for pulmonary diseases is hampered by its relative lack of specificity, typical 1- to 3-day delay between injection and imaging time, and suboptimal imaging characteristics. Other nuclear and nonnuclear imaging modalities, such as (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) and high-resolution chest computed tomography, have replaced gallium in many clinical algorithms. Yet gallium and other radiotracers, such as thallium, sestamibi, and labeled white blood cells, are useful in many specific clinical situations involving lymphoma and other neoplasias, inflammatory processes such as sarcoid and interstitial pneumonia, tuberculosis and other infections, and the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Gallium and some of the other single-photon agents still have value in establishing a diagnosis, assessing the location and extent of disease, differentiating active disease from chronic scarring, guiding potential biopsy, and determining recurrence and response to therapy in patients with certain lung diseases, particularly when access to PET imaging is not available.
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