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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1989 Feb;70(2):135-7.

Predictive value of the three-phase technetium bone scan in diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome.

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Department of PM&R, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0042.


Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS) is a painful and disabling problem, the diagnosis of which can be difficult to confirm by objective measures. The three-phase technetium bone scan (TPBS), with a combined sensitivity and specificity of greater than 90%, has been recommended for use in the diagnosis of RSDS. The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive value and usefulness of the TPBS in the diagnosis of RSDS and to discover how the predictive value might be influenced by demographic and medical factors (eg, duration of symptoms). A retrospective chart review was conducted of 119 patients who underwent a TPBS as part of a workup for unexplained limb pain. Twenty-five patients met the Kozin criteria for definite or probable RSDS. All patients were injected with technetium-99m methylene diphosphonate and scanned using established criteria. The three-hour delayed image demonstrated a sensitivity of 44%, a specificity of 92%, a positive predictive value of 61%, and a negative predictive value of 86%. The blood-flow and pool-imaging phases added no further sensitivity or specificity to that achieved by the uptake scan in patients with upper-extremity involvement. Blood-flow and pool-imaging did improve the predictive value of the TPBS in patients with involvement of the lower extremities. We conclude that a more cost-effective approach to diagnosis of upper-extremity RSDS is to use the uptake scan alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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