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Color Doppler sonography and scintigraphy of the testis: A prospective, comparative analysis in children with acute scrotal pain

NUSSBAUM BLASK, ANNA R. MD; BULAS, DOROTHY MD; SHALABY-RANA, EGLAL MD; RUSHTON, GIL MD; SHAO, CHENG MD, MPH; MAJD, MASSOUD MD

Original Articles

Objective: To compare testicular color Doppler sonography with testicular scintigraphy in differentiating between surgical and nonsurgical conditions of the pediatric testis, and to evaluate the role of testicular color Doppler sonography in the pediatric population.

Materials and Methods: Forty-six children (age range, 1 day to 18 years; median age, 11 years) with acute scrotal pain were evaluated with both scintigraphy and color Doppler sonography by two separate groups of radiologists who had no knowledge of the results of the other modality. The final radiologic diagnosis was classified as a surgical condition, nonsurgical condition, or indeterminate and was compared with the patient’s surgical diagnosis or clinical diagnosis, which was established by response to treatment and follow-up.

Results: Sonography correctly diagnosed 11 of 14 surgical conditions and 31 of 32 nonsurgical conditions. There was one indeterminate sonogram. There were no false-positive examinations, and there were three false-negative examinations (sensitivity = 78.6% [95% CI, 66.7–90.5%], specificity = 96.9% [95% CI, 94.3–99.5%], accuracy = 91.3%). Color flow was demonstrated in the asymptomatic testis in 34 of 44 boys. Scintigraphy correctly diagnosed 11 of 14 surgical conditions and 29 of 32 nonsurgical conditions. There were two indeterminate scintigrams. There were two false-positive examinations and two false-negative examinations (sensitivity = 78.6% [95% CI, 66.7%–90.5%], specificity = 90.6% [95%CI, 82.2%–99.0%], accuracy = 87.0%).

Conclusions: Color Doppler sonography and scintigraphy show similar sensitivity for the diagnosis of testicular torsion. A small number of false-negative cases can occur with either modality. The two studies may provide complementary information in indeterminate cases.

From the Departments of Radiology (A. Nussbaum Blask, D. Bulas, E. Shalaby-Rana, M. Majd), Urology (G. Rushton), and Statistics (C. Shao), The Children’s National Medical Center, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Address for reprints: Anna R. Nussbaum Blask, MD, Department of Radiology, The Children’s National Medical Center, 111 Michigan Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20010; e-mail: ablask@cnmc.org

We thank Cathy Brown-Jones and Linda Rebolo for performing the sonographic examinations of the study participants.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.