RADIOISOTOPES have been used for the dynamic visualization of blood flow through vessels and organs since the invention of the scintillation camera in the early 1960s. Known as radionuclide angiography, scintiangiography, and nuclear flow studies, the technique is simple, safe, and relatively inexpensive. However, until recently, it was able to provide only general information about the blood flow to the extremities. Recent improvements in nuclear medicine instrumentation and techniques have permitted major improvements in the ability of radionuclide angiography to image and quantitate peripheral arterial blood flow. This article describes the technique and discusses its use in studying abnormalities such as stenosis and aneurysm of the vessels of the extremities.
Because it is noninvasive and relatively inexpensive, radionuclide angioography is ideal for examination of patients both preoperatively and postoperatively. The fact that relative quantitation of blood flow is possible makes serial studies more objective and accurate. The accuracy of radionuclide