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April 4, 1977

Spleen Scanning as a Diagnostic Tool

JAMA. 1977;237(14):1473-1474. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270410073033

THE WIDE range of functions carried out by the spleen (Table) means that disorders can occur in almost all age groups. To the physician evaluating patients with splenomegaly, hemolytic anemia, or other signs or symptoms relating to the spleen, the number of tests available may appear rather formidable. However, after an adequate history, physical examination, and hematologic study, a spleen scan may be the procedure of choice in the majority of cases.

The splenic function that can be most readily assessed by use of radiopharmaceuticals is the ability of its reticuloendothelial (RE) cells to accumulate intravenously administered particulates. When colloidal gold (gold Au 198, particle size 0.001μ to 0.01μ) was used as a liver-scanning agent, nearly all of the agent was accumulated by the liver. Only when there was hepatic damage, such as cirrhosis or hepatitis, was the gold radiocolloid taken up by spleen and bone marrow RE cells. However,