Numerous clinical studies have questioned the ability of radionuclide scans to differentiate septic from aseptic joint inflammation. A clinical study may not be able to document an underlying disease process or duration of infection and, thus, may make conclusions about the accuracy of scan interpretations open to debate. In this study, the Dumonde- Glynn model of antigen-induced arthritis in rabbits was used as the experimental model to study technetium and gallium scans in Staphylococcus aureus infection of arthritic and normal joints. Galium scans were negative in normal rabbits, usually negative in antigen-induced arthritis, but positive in septic arthritis. The bone scan was usually negative in early infection but positive in late septic arthritis, a finding reflecting greater penetration of bacteria into subchondral bone because of the underlying inflammatory process.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Received for publication 30 September 1985,and in revised form 18 February 1986. This study was presented in part at the annual meeting of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Association, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in June 1984. This work was supported by funds from the Veterans Administration and by grants from the Minnesota Arthritis Foundation and the Lupus Foundation, Minnesota Chapter. We thank Drs. Frank Schmid and George A. Sarosi for suggestions and encouragement. Please address requests for reprints to Dr. Maren L. Mahowald, Rheumatology Section, V.A. Medical Center, 54th Street and 48th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417. * Present address: Department of Medicine, The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, Cooperstown, New York.