Spleen Scan

Norm of Spleen Scan

Homogeneous distribution of the radiolabeled erythrocytes throughout the spleen.


Usage of Spleen Scan

Evaluation of the size, shape, and location of the spleen in suspected congenital anomalies, in cancer, or after trauma.


Description of Spleen Scan

The spleen scan is a nuclear medicine examination of the left upper quadrant of the abdomen after intravenous administration of either technetium-99m–labeled or chromium-51–labeled, heat-treated, red blood cells. Because erythrocytes are sequestered by the spleen, the radiolabeled cell accumulation in the spleen can be identified with the scinticounter.


Professional Considerations of Spleen Scan

Consent form IS required.

Hematoma, infection.
Inability to lie motionless during the scan; during pregnancy; or breast-feeding.



  1. Establish intravenous access.
  2. Have emergency equipment available for potential anaphylaxis.
  3. Just before beginning the procedure, take a “time out” to verify the correct client, procedure, and site.



  1. A 5-mL sample of the client's blood is removed with a heparinized syringe by means of venipuncture. It is heat-treated and labeled with the selected radionuclide in the nuclear medicine department.
  2. The labeled blood is injected through the established intravenous access into the client.
  3. After 1 hour, scintiscans are taken of the left upper quadrant of the abdomen from anterior, posterior, left lateral, and oblique views.
  4. Scanning is repeated in 24 hours.


Postprocedure Care

  1. Observe the individual for 1 hour after the study for possible anaphylactic reaction to the radionuclide.
  2. General body-substance isolation precautions protect the health care professional from potential radiation exposure.


Client and Family Teaching

  1. Technetium half-life is 6 hours. Chromium-51 half-life is 27.8 days.
  2. General body-substance isolation precautions protect the client's family from potential radiation exposure.


Factors That Affect Results

  1. Impaired hepatic function causes a greater-than-normal splenic uptake of the labeled cells.
  2. Hematoma, infarct, abscess, or tumor causes decreased uptake.
  3. Amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, or granulomas may cause many filling defects.


Other Data

  1. This test may be performed with a liver scan.
  2. Health care professionals working in a nuclear medicine area must follow federal standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These standards include precautions for handling the radioactive material and monitoring of potential radiation exposure.