Ten young normal adults had pelvic and lumbar vertebral body bone marrow blood flow examined using [15O]water and positron emission tomography (PET) in a study designed to assess the feasibility and reproducibility of the PET technique for measuring marrow blood flow to various marrow regions. The procedure was well tolerated. Repeated blood flow measurements obtained from two consecutive [15O]water exams on each individual subject were highly reproducible. In addition, there was minimal variation in marrow blood flow from individual to individual and no gender differences were noted. In contrast, mean+/-SD bone marrow blood flows (expressed as milliliters per minute per 100 g) at selected anatomical sites were significantly different and were as follows: lower lumbar vertebral bodies, 17.6+/-3.1; most posterior and superior pelvis (conventional site of percutaneous bone marrow biopsy), 14.3+/-3.1; and total superior pelvis, 11.1+/-2.0. We conclude that PET is a relatively noninvasive, simple, and reproducible technique for measuring bone marrow blood flow. Marrow blood flow is consistent between normal young subjects, but varies significantly between different anatomic regions of the marrow.

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