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Ann Nucl Med. 2011 Jun;25(5):325-31. doi: 10.1007/s12149-011-0465-3. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Esophageal transit study using a sliding sum image: application to patients with probable and definite systemic sclerosis.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Kanazawa University Hospital, 13-1 Takara-machi, Kanazawa, 920-8641, Japan.



Esophageal complication is common in systemic sclerosis (SSc), but scintigraphic transit patterns based on each subtype have not been understood well. The aim of this study was to develop a new algorithm for integrating a dynamic esophageal transit study and to apply the method to patients with SSc.


A total of 40 patients suspected of having SSc were examined by a dynamic esophageal transit study. The subtypes included 32 with definite SSc (15 limited cutaneous type and 17 diffuse cutaneous type) and 8 with probable SSc. The serial esophageal images were shifted and summed to a functional image (sliding sum image) and compared to a conventional condensed image analysis. Esophageal retention fraction at 90 s (R (90)) and half-time (T (1/2)) of transit were also measured.


The four patterns of the sliding sum image and condensed image agreed in all patients. Abnormal retention patterns were observed in none of the 8 (0%) patients with the probable SSc and in 15 of 32 (47%) patients with definite SSc (p = 0.014). The severity of scleroderma assessed by modified Rodnan skin thickness score correlated with that of esophageal retention R (90) (p = 0.04).


The sliding sum image is a simple and effective method for integrating esophageal transit. Patients with definite SSc and severe scleroderma had significantly higher retention patterns, while probable SSc patients showed no esophageal dysmotility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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