The importance of delayed images in gastrointestinal bleeding scintigraphy

Nucl Med Commun. 2002 Aug;23(8):803-8. doi: 10.1097/00006231-200208000-00015.


Although radionuclide methods for the detection of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding have been available for more than 20 years, the value of delayed images in GI bleeding scintigraphy is still regarded controversially. The aim of this study was to determine the value of delayed images in a group of patients with predominantly low-grade intermittent bleeding. Eighty-nine consecutive GI bleeding scintigraphies of 75 patients were analysed retrospectively. All patients were referred to our department after other diagnostic methods had failed to identify the localization of GI bleeding. After the dynamic study, delayed images were acquired for up to 24 h until a bleeding site was identified. Data on the clinical outcome were available in all but five patients. No patient with a negative scan died from GI bleeding. A positive result was found in 41 patients (55%). The scans of 11 of these 41 patients (27%) became positive during dynamic imaging. Four required immediate surgery and, in another patient, surgery was not performed because of diffuse bleeding of the entire GI tract. One patient died without surgical intervention. Thirty-three scans of 30 of these 41 patients (73%) were positive on delayed imaging only, leading to surgery in 12 individuals. Our findings demonstrate the importance of delayed images in GI bleeding scintigraphy. Many of our patients who required surgery had scans that did not become positive for several hours.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Erythrocytes / diagnostic imaging*
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Technetium*
  • Time Factors


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium