Leucocyte scan

This is a white cell scan performed in the Nuclear Medicine department of the hospital.

It is a sophisticated test, valuable in determining the site, severity and extent of inflammation and highlighting complications such as abscesses.

It is based on the function of the white blood cells, which is to travel to sites of inflammation and fight infection.

There is no preparation prior to the test and you may eat and drink normally.

The test is carried out in two phases:

Phase 1

A sample of your blood is taken (around 40 ml) and the white cells are separated from it. They are then labeled with a very small amount of a radioactive chemical (Indium III or TC99mHMPAO isotopes) and re-injected back into the bloodstream. This part of the test can take up to 2 hours.

Phase 2

The second part of the test is usually performed about 3 hours later and involves scanning the abdomen to trace the white cells, detectable because of the isotope. The images are produced on a screen and dark areas are seen at the site of inflammation.

Occasionally, if an abscess is suspected, you may be recalled for scanning the next day.

After the test

A report of the scan will be made and sent to your doctor for review.