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Nuclear medicine in tropical diseases

DOI: 10.1590/S1516-89132002000500002

Keywords: nuclear medicine, scintigraphy, tropical diseases, leprosy, paracoccidioidomycosis, blastomycosis, mucormycosis, tuberculosis, neurocysticercosis, cutaneous and mucous leishmaniasis, chagas? disease.

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Abstract:

tropical diseases affect more people in the world than any other kind of disease, but scintigraphic data on that matter are not so frequent in the literature. since the geographic regions where such diseases occur are normally very poor, scintillation cameras may not be available. we present a resumed summary of part of what has been done on this subject to-date. leprosy affects circa 12 million people worldwide and has already been studied by means of the following scintigraphic exams: gallium-67, 99mtc-mdp or hmdp, 99mtc-colloid or dextran, 99mtc-dtpa and 99mtc-wbc. paracoccidiodomycosis is a deep mycosis and such cases may be evaluated by means of gallium-67, bone scintigraphy, lymphoscintigraphy, hepato-billiary, bone marrow and liver / spleen scintigraphies. mycetoma is bone and soft tissue mycosis and gallim-67 and bone studies are very useful in the evaluation of such cases. tuberculosis is the most well studied tropical disease and dozens of radiopharmaceuticals and techniques were described to evaluate such patients. jorge lobo?s disease is a rare mycosis that affects mainly indians from the amazon region and gallium-67 was shown to accumulate in active disease. neurocysticercosis is spread worldwide and brain spect (99mtc-ecd or 99mtc-hmpao) is a very good tool for the functional evaluation of the disease. patients suffering from cutaneous and mucous leishmaniosis may benefit from gallium-67 scintigraphy. chagas? disease may affect the heart and/or the digestive tract and several scintigraphic exams may be helpful in the evaluation of such cases (gated blood pool, heart perfusion tests, pharyngeal transit tests, gastric emptying tests, intestinal transit tests, hepato-billiary scintigraphy, among others). scintigraphy should be more largely used in the functional evaluation of organs and systems of patients affected by topical diseases. it is a powerful tool to evaluate both the extent of disease and the efficacy of therapy.

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