Technetium-labelled red blood cell scintigraphy: is it useful in acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding?

Int J Colorectal Dis. 1995;10(4):210-5. doi: 10.1007/BF00346221.


Radionuclide scintigraphy is commonly utilized as a screening examination before performing more invasive procedures in the work-up of patients with lower gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. We reviewed our institutional experience with technetium-labelled red blood cell scintigraphy (TRCS) in detecting and localising acute lower GI bleeding. The study group included 72 patients who had 80 red cells scans over a five year period. Thirty-eight scans were positive (47.5%), and 42 were negative (52.5%). Sites of lower GI bleeding were confirmed by endoscopy, arteriography, surgery and/or pathology in 22 of the 38 positive scans. There were four false-negative scans (9.5%). The overall sensitivity and specificity of TRCS in detecting lower GI bleeding was 84.6% (22/26) and 70.4% (38/54), respectively. The accuracy of localization of bleeding sites in the patients with confirmed positive scans was 72.7% (16/22). Thirty mesenteric arteriograms were performed on patients in this series. Eleven arteriograms were performed after negative TRCS; one was positive. Technetium-labelled red blood cell scintigraphy appears to be a useful screening examination for patients with lower GI bleeding who are hemodynamically stable. This may avoid the potential morbidity of arteriography in patients who are not actively bleeding.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colonic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Erythrocytes / diagnostic imaging*
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sodium Pertechnetate Tc 99m*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pyrophosphate*
  • Time Factors
  • Tin Polyphosphates*


  • Tin Polyphosphates
  • technetium Tc 99m stannous pyrophosphate
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pyrophosphate
  • Sodium Pertechnetate Tc 99m