White Blood Cell Scan

What is a White Blood Cell Scan and what does it do?

There are 2 types of White Blood Cell Scans we perform:

Indium White Blood Cell Imaging:

This study is used in more chronic infections which may require longer periods of time before adequate tracer localization, in abdominal imaging, and in patients with fever of unknown origin (FUO).

Ceretec™ White Blood Cell Imaging:

Ceretec™ (Technetium labeled leukocytes) can be of value when the patient’s condition requires a rapid answer and it is also good for suspected musculoskeletal infections (where renal and gut activity are not likely to mislead).
Because of dosimetry considerations HMPAO labeled leukocytes are preferred for children. This study is not particularly effective on spinal cord infections.

Who performs the test?

The Nuclear White Blood Cell Scan will be performed by a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. The Nuclear Technologist is certified by the NMTCB (Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board), and/or the ARRT (The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists). All of the Nuclear Medicine Technologists at Jackson Hospital are licensed in the state of Florida.

Where does it take place?

The Nuclear White Blood Cell Scan will be performed in the Nuclear Medicine Department at Jackson Hospital. This is located in Radiology at the main hospital.

How long does it take?

See the  “What happens during your exam” section below.

What you can do to make it a success?

  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Remove any metallic objects before your scan.
  • Bring a copy of your physicians order with you to your exam.
  • Make sure you have contacted Nuclear Medicine (850-718-2584) for detailed instructions for the test. This is a multi-visit and multi-day test.

What to do before your exam?

  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Remove any metallic objects before your scan.
  • Bring a copy of your physicians order with you to your exam.
  • Make sure you have contacted Nuclear Medicine (850-718-2584) for detailed instructions for the test. This is a multi-visit and multi-day test.
  • You must have 3 bottles of bowel prep which can be picked up in the Radiology department of Jackson Hospital.

What happens during your exam?

Indium White Blood Cell Imaging:


Day 1: Patient will have a large bore IV started. Patient will need to be at hospital first thing in the morning (6:30am) for technologist to draw 60 ml of blood to provide to the nuclear pharmacy for WBC labeling. Patient is then able to have a full breakfast and hydrate well. Patient will return to hospital 5 – 6 hours later for the Indium labeled White blood cells to be re-injected. Following injection the patient can leave and drink the first bottle of magnesium citrate; drinking plenty of clear liquids. Patient can have a light dinner, followed by the second bottle of magnesium citrate and plenty of clear liquids until after the scan.

Day 2: Patient will report to nuclear medicine for the 24 hour scan which will take approximately 30 minutes. Technologist will show images to the Radiologist and determine if the patient is to return for 48 hour images. If patient is to return for more images the patient will be advised to drink a bottle of magnesium citrate and hydrate well after dinner.

Day 3: Patient will report to nuclear medicine for the 48 hour scan which will take approximately 30 minutes. Technologist will show images to the Radiologist and determine if the patient is to return for 72 hour images. If patient is to return for more images the patient will be advised to drink a bottle of magnesium citrate and hydrate well after dinner.

Day 4: Patient will report to nuclear medicine for the 72 hour scan which will take approximately 30 minutes.

Ceretec™ White Blood Cell Imaging:

  • Patient will have a large bore IV started.
  • Patient will need to be at hospital first thing in the morning for technologist to draw 60 ml of blood to provide to the nuclear pharmacy for WBC labeling.
  • Patient will return to hospital 5 – 6 hours later for the HMPAO labeled White Blood Cells to be re-injected. Two hours following re-injection images will be acquired.

What to do after your exam?

Your images will be processed after your scan. They will then be submitted to the Radiologist for review and interpretation. The results will be forwarded to the ordering physician when the Radiologist’s report is complete.

Contact Information:

Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200
Nuclear Medicine Department: (850) 718-2584
Radiology Department (at hospital): (850) 718-2580