Objective: To analyze the utilization of nuclear medicine scintigraphy in the Taiwanese population within the national health-care system between 1997 and 2009. Methods: Based on the Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database of 1997-2009, a retrospective population-based analysis was conducted. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis were employed to analyze the frequencies and longitudinal trends in the utilization of diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures during the period. In addition, correlation analysis was applied to determine the correlated factors in the utility of nuclear medicine scintigraphy. Results: The annual total nuclear medicine scintigraphy was estimated to be 256,389 on average in1997-2009 and 11.7 per 1,000 population over the period. The frequency had increased by 67% over the years, from 8.2 per 1,000 population in 1997 to 13.7 per 1,000 population in 2009. The most frequently performed procedures were whole-body bone scans (33.4% of total) and myocardial perfusion scans (29.4% of total), with 4,615 and 5,620 increments per year, respectively. Most patients were in the age group of 41-65 years old when taking examinations. In addition, male subjects were slightly more than female patients (51.5 vs. 48.5%). Furthermore, the frequencies of whole-body bone scans and PET scans were proportional to the incidences of cancers (correlation coefficients were 0.96 and 0.94, respectively). Conclusions: The utilization of nuclear medicine scintigraphy with the National Health Insurance system in Taiwan has been changed considerably in the past 13 years. Both whole-body bone scan and myocardial perfusion scan were performed most often with significantly increases. The trend of nuclear medicine scintigraphy may have potential impact on making health-care policy in Taiwan.
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