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October 9, 1995

Utility of Scintigraphic Methods in Patients With Fever of Unknown Origin

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs de Kleijn and van der Meer) and Nuclear Medicine (Drs Oyen, Claessens, and Corstens), University Hospital Nijmegen (the Netherlands).

Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(18):1989-1994. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430180099011

Background:  We assessed the utility of scintigraphy with indium 111—labeled polyclonal human IgG scintigraphy in patients with fever of unknown origin that fulfilled the criteria of temperature of 38.3°C or more for at least 3 weeks and no diagnosis during 1 week of hospital admission. We compared the utility of this technique with results of scintigraphic techniques reported in the literature.

Methods:  Data for all patients seen at our university hospital in whom111In-IgG scanning was performed were analyzed and checked for the criteria for fever of unknown origin. The literature on the utility of scintigraphic techniques in patients with fever of unknown origin was reviewed.

Results:  We studied 24 patients with fever of unknown origin. In 13 patients, focal111In-IgG accumulation was observed. In nine (38%) of those, the positive111 In-IgG scintigram led to the final diagnosis; in the other four patients (17%), the scintigraphic findings were not helpful. In the 11 patients with negative111In-IgG scans, extensive diagnostic workup produced no infection as the final diagnosis in nine patients (38%), one had an abscess in a renal cyst that was detected several months later, and in the other the cause of fever was an infected intravenous line. The overall sensitivity and specificity of111In-IgG scintigraphy were 81% and 69%, respectively. The positive predictive value was 69% and the negative predictive value was 82%.

Conclusions:  Our results show that111In-IgG scintigraphy significantly contributed to the diagnostic process in patients with fever of unknown origin. A positive scan increased the likelihood of finding the cause of the fever, and a negative scan ruled out an inflammatory component with a high degree of certainty. These data compare favorably with data in the literature concerning other radiopharmaceuticals; a larger prospective evaluation of this technique is indicated.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:1989-1994)