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July 23, 1982

Clinical Use of Radionuclide Bone Imaging in a University Medical Center

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Fihn, Larson, and Nelp) and Nuclear Medicine (Drs Rudd and Nelp), University of Washington, Seattle. Dr Fihn was a Public Health Service Fellow in the University of Washington, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. Dr Larson is a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Faculty Scholar in General Internal Medicine.

JAMA. 1982;248(4):439-442. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330040027025

To assess the diagnostic utility of radionuclide bone imaging, we reviewed all examinations performed during a two-year period in a university medical center. The indication(s) for each bone image and its interpretation were compared by reviewing requisition forms and medical records. Thirty-nine percent of 988 studies demonstrated relevant abnormalities. Yields of pertinent positive findings were greatest in patients with cancers of the breast (40%) and prostate (38%) and lowest in women with uterine cancer (15%), patients with previously normal bone images, and individuals with suspected but unconfirmed malignancy. Incidental findings, unrelated to the indication for imaging, occurred frequently (up to 41% of cases). We did not find a sizable number of negative studies that could readily be labeled as unnecessary, suggesting that bone imaging is generally a useful procedure as applied by physicians in this setting.

(JAMA 1982;248:439-442)