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Due to the complexity of neurological conditions, generally these studies are only referred by neurology consultants. Consultants who are unsure whether a cerebral perfusion study is the most appropriate test for their patient should consult a nuclear medicine specialist.
Doctors treating women who are in the reproductive age group should establish whether the patient is pregnant prior to the scan.
This study may not be suitable for pregnant women. The benefit versus risk should be discussed with the nuclear medicine specialist.
Women who are breastfeeding and people who are the primary or sole carer for small children may need to make special preparations after the test to stop breastfeeding for a short time and to avoid close contact with young children due to the small amount of radioactivity released for a while after the test. Patients should discuss this with their referring doctor or the nuclear medicine practice where they will have the test for details. See nuclear medicine for further information about the precautions to take with nuclear medicine studies for breastfeeding patients and those in close contact with children.
Most scanning beds have a weight limit of 150-200kg.
Scanning requires absolute compliance in terms of the patient remaining still. Diagnostic results are not guaranteed in patients who are unable to stay still due to non-compliance or involuntary movement.
A cerebral perfusion study does not normally carry risk. In a very small number of patients (1%) a rash or allergic reaction has occurred. These reactions are short lived and responded to treatment.
It should be noted that, like many diagnostic imaging tests, a cerebral perfusion study involves exposure to ionising radiation. However, this radiation dose is comparable to and in many cases less than the radiation doses received from other tests such as CT scans. (See radiation risk of medical imaging for adults and children)
Nuclear medicine positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a good alternative for all brain imaging. This is only Medicare funded for epilepsy studies. It is also not widely available in the community, limiting its usefulness in brain imaging. cerebral perfusion imaging may be used in conjunction with MRI and CT scanning to ratify SPECT findings.
Page last modified on 26/7/2017.
RANZCR® is not aware that any person intends to act or rely upon the opinions, advices or information contained in this publication or of the manner in which it might be possible to do so. It issues no invitation to any person to act or rely upon such opinions, advices or information or any of them and it accepts no responsibility for any of them.
RANZCR® intends by this statement to exclude liability for any such opinions, advices or information. The content of this publication is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. It is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient and his/her doctor. Some of the tests and procedures included in this publication may not be available at all radiology providers.
RANZCR® recommends that any specific questions regarding any procedure be discussed with a person's family doctor or medical specialist. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, RANZCR®, its Board, officers and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use, or interpretation. Each person should rely on their own inquires before making decisions that touch their own interests.