99mTc-ciprofloxacin planar and tomographic imaging for the diagnosis of infection in the postoperative spine: experience in 48 patients
De Winter, Frederic × Gemmel, Filip Van Laere, Koen De Winter, Olivier Poffijn, Bart Dierckx, Rudi A Van de Wiele, Christophe #
European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging vol:31 issue:2 pages:233-9
The non-invasive assessment of postoperative spinal infections can pose a substantial diagnostic challenge, especially in the presence of orthopaedic devices. Whereas white blood cell scanning is of limited use in the spine, the low normal bone marrow uptake of technetium-99m ciprofloxacin combined with its claimed bacterial specificity makes it theoretically an ideal candidate for the evaluation of postoperative spinal infections. This study aimed to evaluate 99mTc-ciprofloxacin planar and single-photon emission tomography (SPET) imaging in relation to microbiological and clinical diagnosis in the postoperative spine. Planar imaging was performed at 1, 3 and 24 h and SPET was performed at 3 h post injection of 370 MBq 99mTc-ciprofloxacin. Images were scored by two independent certified nuclear medicine physicians, blinded to the final diagnosis. Within the 48 patients, there were 13 deep infections. Sensitivity, specificity and accuracy at visual scoring were respectively 54%, 71% and 67% (1 h), 62%, 77% and 73% (3 h), 42%, 91% and 77% (24 h) for planar imaging and 100%, 74% and 81% for SPET. When recently operated patients (< 6 months) were excluded, the specificity of the SPET imaging rose to 81%. In conclusion, unlike white blood cell scanning, 99mTc-ciprofloxacin SPET is sensitive in evaluating infections in the postoperative spine. Sensitivity is much higher for SPET than for planar imaging. However, the results presented prove that its specificity is limited, especially in recently operated patients. Taking this limitation into account, we advise planar and SPET imaging at 3 h post injection and an interval of at least 6 months after surgery to minimise the likelihood of false positives.