Single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography in abdominal diseases

Semin Nucl Med. 2007 Jan;37(1):48-61. doi: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2006.07.001.


Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) studies of the abdominal region are established in conventional nuclear medicine because of their easy and large availability, even in the most peripheral hospitals. It is well known that SPECT imaging demonstrates function, rather than anatomy. It is useful in the diagnosis of various disorders because of its ability to detect changes caused by disease before identifiable anatomic correlates and clinical manifestations exist. However, SPECT data frequently need anatomic landmarks to precisely depict the site of a focus of abnormal tracer uptake and the structures containing normal activity; the fusion with morphological studies can furnish an anatomical map to scintigraphic findings. In the past, software-based fusion of independently performed SPECT and CT or magnetic resonance images have been demonstrated to be time consuming and not useful for routine clinical employment. The recent development of dual-modality integrated imaging systems, which provide SPECT and CT images in the same scanning session, with the acquired images co-registered by means of the hardware, has created a new scenario. The first data have been mainly reported in oncology patients and indicate that SPECT/CT is very useful because it is able to provide further information of clinical value in several cases. In SPECT studies of abdominal diseases, hybrid SPECT/CT can play a role in the differential diagnosis of hepatic hemangiomas located near vascular structures, in precisely detecting and localizing active splenic tissue caused by splenosis in splenectomy patients, in providing important information for therapy optimization in patients submitted to hepatic arterial perfusion scintigraphy, in accurately identifying the involved bowel segments in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, and in correctly localizing the bleeding sites in patients with gastrointestinal bleeding.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / diagnostic imaging
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Hemangioma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Radiography, Abdominal / methods*
  • Splenosis / diagnosis
  • Subtraction Technique
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*