Iodine-131 metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) is an effective agent for the scintigraphic portrayal of pheochromocytomas of all types. Iodine-131 MIBG is a relatively stable radiopharmaceutical that is primarily excreted in the urine. Therefore, impaired renal function would be expected to alter [131I]MIBG pharmacokinetics which would thus affect blood levels, as well as scintigraphy. An 18-yr-old anephric male presented with hypertension and suspected pheochromocytoma. We have compared the [131I]MIBG scintigraphy and blood clearance kinetics in this anephric patient, two patients with renal insufficiency and four patients with normal renal function. The degree of renal insufficiency was directly correlated to the CPM/image (an index of whole-body retention) on all 3 days of imaging and the slower clearance of radioactivity from the blood. The relative distribution of radioactivity between the plasma and cell fractions was greatest in the patients with renal insufficiency. We therefore suggest that attention be paid to plasma creatinine levels prior to the administration of [131I] MIBG to permit accurate interpretation of scintigraphy. In addition, the effect of renal insufficiency on radiation dosimetry should be considered. It may thus be prudent to reduce the administered dose of [131I]MIBG given to anephric or renally insufficient patients to decrease radiation dose.
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