SNM: SPECT/CT helps diagnose renal transplant complications

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Renal Transplant
Image source: Mayo Clinic's division of nephrology and hypertension

SALT LAKE CITY—At the 57th SNM annual meeting this week, researchers presented a study revealing that SPECT/CT can detect a broad range of post renal transplant complications, allowing clinicians to better diagnose and treat patients.

The retrospective study, conducted at the Cleveland Clinic, showed that SPECT/CT, like traditional 2D planar imaging, is useful for evaluation of complications like urinary leak, inflection, transplant non-viability or kidney failure, according the researchers. In addition, they speculated that SPECT/CT may answer clinical questions that could otherwise have led to further imaging studies, invasive biopsies and delayed treatment for the patient.

The study included 12 renal transplant cases; 10 patients were suspected of having a urinary leak, one patient showed evidence of kidney failure and one patient was suspected to have a transplant-associated infection.

After traditional planar imaging, all patients were underwent a SPECT/CT study, which detected the presence of urinary leak in 7 of 10 patients, identified a non-viable transplant and demonstrated renal transplant abscess in one patient. SPECT/CT offers a number of advantages, said lead author Shashi Khandekar, CNMT, RT, administrator of the nuclear medicine department at the Cleveland Clinic.

According to the study authors, SPECT/CT provides an accurate view of structure and function in a single image and incorporates 3D data to improve localization.

On the clinical side, they said problems may be identified earlier and with greater accuracy and increased confidence; and patients may avoid further imaging studies, invasive biopsies and treatment delays.

“SPECT and CT fused images provide both functional and anatomical information about the kidney, which provides better diagnostic capability and greater confidence to our physicians,” summed Khandekar. “We are becoming more technologically savvy and we strongly feel that as more and more clinicians use hybrid SPECT/CT imaging, technologists also need to be prepared and acquire all of the necessary qualifications for this technology.”