Contribution of technetium-99m hexamethylpropylene amine oxime labelled leucocyte scintigraphy to the diagnosis of diabetic foot infection

Eur J Nucl Med. 1998 Feb;25(2):132-8. doi: 10.1007/s002590050205.


We conducted a prospective study in order to evaluate the contribution of technetium-99m hexamethylpropylene amine oxime (HMPAO) labelled leucocyte scintigraphy to the diagnosis and follow-up of osteomyelitis in the diabetic foot. The study was conducted between October 1992 and November 1996 and included 42 patients (30 men and 12 women; mean age 63 years) with diabetes mellitus (type 1, n = 22, type 2, n = 20) who had a total of 56 diabetic foot ulcers. The initial exploration included standard radiography, three-phase bone scintigraphy and 99mTc-HMPAO labelled leucocyte scintigraphy (HMPAO-LS), performed within a 3-day interval. For the 56 ulceration sites, 26 cases of osteomyelitis were diagnosed: ten on the basis of radiographic and histological/bacteriological criteria after bone biopsy, 11 after radiographic follow-up and five on the basis of biopsy results alone. No osteomyelitis was present at 30 sites, there were seven cases of cellulitis. The sensitivity and specificity of 99mTc-HMPAO-LS were 88.4% and 96.6% respectively (23 true-positives, 29 true-negatives, one false-positive, three false-negatives). The accuracy of radiography, 99mTc-methylene diphosphonate and HMPAO-LS was 69.6%, 62.5%, and 92.9%, respectively. Follow-up scintigraphy (n = 14) 4 months after initial diagnosis and 1 month after antibiotic withdrawal confirmed cure of osteomyelitis despite the absence of complete clinical regression of the ulcers. In conclusion, 99mTc-HMPAO labelled leucocyte scintigraphy was found to be an excellent method for the diagnosis of osteomyelitis in the diabetic foot. It can contribute to follow-up, particularly when clinical regression of perforating ulcers is incomplete and cure of osteomyelitis must be confirmed in order that antibiotic treatment may be discontinued.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnostic imaging
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnostic imaging
  • Diabetic Foot / blood
  • Diabetic Foot / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diabetic Foot / etiology
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteomyelitis / blood
  • Osteomyelitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteomyelitis / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Exametazime*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Exametazime