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A recent or current UTI may demonstrate a lack of radiopharmaceutical accumulation due to pyelonephritis. This may resolve on further imaging or reflect permanent scarring. It is usual to wait 8-12 weeks following a recent infection before performing a DMSA scan, unless you are looking for evidence of acute pyelonephritis or assessing an acute renal condition.
The justification for the procedure (harm versus expected benefit) needs to be seriously considered.
If your patient is breast feeding, please discuss your patient with the nuclear medicine specialist to optimise dose minimisation and appropriate withdrawal times for breast feeding and reduced contact with the infant.
Pregnancy is almost an absolute contraindication for DMSA scanning and a serious medical condition would be required to warrant performing a DMSA scan in a patient with an ongoing pregnancy.
Lactation – technetium based radiopharmaceuticals are actively excreted into breast milk. Procedure would be considered after full consultation between the referring doctor and the nuclear medicine specialist. The specialist would provide protocols to reduce the dose to the patient (e.g. lower the administered dose) and, depending on the administered dose, what instructions need to be provided to the patient.
Weight limits – this depends on the equipment available at your local practice and the area needing to be examined. Most scanning beds have weight limits ranging from 160kg to 220kg. Some imaging can be done with the patient sitting or standing, or on a hospital bed or trolley. Please discuss with your local practice if necessary.
Recent nuclear medicine scan or treatment – patients requiring multiple nuclear medicine scans need to have their procedures co-ordinated for the most effective program. Most scans are technetium based.
There are no risks involved in the DMSA Scan procedure itself.
There is a small dose of ionising radiation that is similar to other routine medical imaging tests (see radiation risk of medical imaging for adults and children).
The IV injection and the use of restraints can be stressful for small children and their parents (see how can I make my child’s examination less stressful?).
An ultrasound examination of the kidneys can also provide information on renal size, and areas of cortical thinning can indicate scarring. The DMSA gives additional information on relative function. Please discuss individual patients with your nuclear medicine specialist.
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.