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February 1982

The Gallium Scan and Inflammatory Lesions

Author Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine Section of Infectious Diseases Lahey Clinic Medical Center 41 Mall Rd Burlington, MA 01803

Arch Intern Med. 1982;142(2):231. doi:10.1001/archinte.1982.00340150031004

It will be ten years since the observation that gallium accumulates in inflammatory lesions.1 The gallium scan has been used to diagnose intra-abdominal abscesses, bone infections, and fevers of unknown origin and to evaluate the extent of inflammatory disease in the lungs (sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, interstitial pneumonitis, and fibrosis).

Ebright et al, in this issue (p 246), review the accuracy of the gallium citrate Ga 67 (67Ga) scan. Specificity in the majority of previous studies has been 75% to 96%, with a detection rate of inflammatory lesions (sensitivity) of greater than or equal to 70%. In the current article, the authors draw attention to the frequency of false-positive scans. In the early years of a diagnostic or therapeutic modality, its usefulness can be overestimated. It is possible that the findings by Ebright et al of frequent false-positive scans can be generalized to the current state of the art in 67

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