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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 74-B, Issue 5 | Pages 673 - 677
1 Sep 1992
Ashcroft G Evans N Roeda D Dodd M Mallard Porter R Smith F

The quantification of local bone blood flow in man has not previously been possible, despite its importance in the study of normal and pathological bone. We report the use of positron emission tomography, using 15O-labelled water, to measure bone blood flow in patients with closed unilateral fractures of the tibia. We compared fractured and unfractured limbs; alterations in blood flow paralleled those found in animal models. There was increased tibial blood flow at the fracture site as early as 24 hours after fracture, reaching up to 14 times that in the normal limb at two weeks. Blood flow increase was less in displaced than in undisplaced fractures. The muscle to bone ratios of blood flow were similar to those in previous animal work using other techniques. Positron emission tomography will allow study of human bone blood flow in vivo in a wide variety of pathological conditions.