[99mTc red blood cell scintigraphy for the assessment of active gastrointestinal bleeding]

Rev Med Chil. 1998 Apr;126(4):413-8.
[Article in Spanish]


Background: 99mTc red blood cell scintigraphy is a non invasive diagnostic method for low flow gastrointestinal bleeding.

Aim: To assess the diagnostic yield of this method in patients admitted with gastrointestinal bleeding in whom upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was negative.

Patients and methods: The clinical records of 59 patients, aged 6 to 90 years old (35 male), with active gastrointestinal bleeding subjected to a 99mTc red blood cell scintigraphy were reviewed. All had non diagnostic upper gastrointestinal endoscopic studies, and in 20 a selective arteriography was performed.

Results: In 40 patients the scintigraphy was positive for gastrointestinal bleeding, and in 57% of these the exam was positive during the first hour. Fifteen of the 19 patients with a negative scintigraphy did not have an active clinical bleeding at the moment of the examination. In 24 patients, a final etiological diagnosis was reached. In 93% of these patients scintigraphy correctly identified the bleeding site. In one patient with a negative scintigraphy, angiography disclosed a pseudo aneurysm of the splenic artery that was not bleeding actively.

Conclusions: In these patients with negative upper gastrointestinal endoscopy 99mTc red blood cell scintigraphy had a 91% sensitivity for the diagnosis of active gastrointestinal bleeding.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Colonic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Erythrocytes / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sodium Pertechnetate Tc 99m*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sodium Pertechnetate Tc 99m