Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Localizing Acute Lower Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage: CT Angiography Versus Tagged RBC Scintigraphy.

OBJECTIVE: Lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage is a common cause of hospitalization and has substantial associated morbidity and financial cost. CT angiography (CTA) is emerging as an alternative to (99m)Tc-labeled RBC scintigraphy (RBC scintigraphy) for the localization of acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB); however, data on comparative efficacy are scant. The aim of this study was to assess the utility of CTA compared with RBC scintigraphy in the overall evaluation and management of acute LGIB.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed images from all CTA examinations performed for suspected acute LGIB at our tertiary care hospital from January 2010 through November 2011. The comparison group was determined by retrospective review of twice the number of RBC scintigraphic scans consecutively obtained from June 2008 to November 2011 for the same indication. All CTA and RBC scintigraphic scans were reviewed for accurate localization of the site and source of suspected active LGIB.

RESULTS: In total, 45 CTA and 90 RBC scintigraphic examinations were performed during the study period. Seventeen (38%) CTA scans showed active gastrointestinal bleeding compared with 34 (38%) RBC scintigraphic scans (p = 1.000). However, the site of bleeding was accurately localized on 24 (53%) CTA scans. This proportion was significantly greater than the proportion localized on RBC scintigraphic scans (27 [30%]) (p = 0.008). There were no significant differences between the two groups in average hospital length of stay, blood transfusion requirement, incidence of acute kidney injury, or in-hospital mortality.

CONCLUSION: Both CTA and RBC scintigraphy can be used to identify active bleeding in 38% of cases. However, the site of bleeding is localized with CTA in a significantly higher proportion of studies.

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