What is the role of nuclear imaging in the workup of hemophilia?

Updated: Nov 14, 2016
  • Author: Lars J Grimm, MD, MHS; Chief Editor: Felix S Chew, MD, MBA, MEd  more...
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Answer

Answer

Bone scans are highly sensitive for detecting areas of increased osteoblastic activity; the scans are useful for surveying the entire skeleton for disease. Follow-up bone scans can be used to determine the effectiveness of a patient's treatment. Radioisotopes, such as phosphorus-32 (32P), can be injected therapeutically into a joint to decrease the amount of bleeding/effusion. [19]

Bone scans combine high sensitivity with low specificity. Therefore, a negative bone scan should exclude acute joint hemorrhage or synovitis.

The lack of specificity of bone scans makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of a positive bone scan. The findings are more helpful in the acute phase of the disease than at other times.


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