A DMSA (technetium dimercaptosuccinic acid) scan is a test used to find problems in the kidneys. Special pictures are taken after a medicine is injected into a vein. The medicine is called a radiopharmaceutical (a tiny amount of a radioactive liquid). The pictures show the medicine in the kidneys.
Before the Procedure
Before coming to the hospital, explain to your child what will happen during the test to the best of your ability. For young children, use simple words and explain only shortly before the test.
There are no eating or drinking restrictions for this test.
If your child is an infant, it is helpful to bring along a bottle of formula or juice with you for after the test. It is also recommended that you bring a pacifier, blanket or special toy to help calm your baby.
For older children, it is helpful to bring a book, toy or DVD to play with while waiting. It is helpful to have another caregiver for your child's siblings. For young children or babies, it is a good idea to bring a stroller.
During the Scan
A technologist will place a small needle called an IV into a vein in your child's hand or foot. The needle hurts for just a moment. When the needle is in, the medicine is injected into a vein.
After the injection, there is a two-hour wait before pictures are taken. You may wait in the waiting area or go for a walk. The child can eat and drink during this time.
After two hours, you and your child will return to the nuclear medicine area and the test will continue. They will need to lie still on a soft table while a special camera is used to take pictures from above and below her. Your child may need a safety belt to help them lie still. During this time, your child may watch a DVD or take a bottle. The camera will not hurt or touch your child. You will be able to stay with them during the entire test.
It is possible that during the procedure your child may experience some discomfort. Please tell the doctor, nurse or technologist if pain occurs.
After the Procedure
The child eliminates the medicine from their body by urinating. Your child should drink plenty of fluids and urinate often to help clear it from their body. It should be completely out of their body within 24 hours.
As always, you and your child should wash your hands after they urinate or when handling urine-soaked diapers or sheets.
After the test, your child may return to regular daily activities and meals.
Technology & Scanners
The pictures will be taken by a Siemens ECam. The open gantry design and feet-in imaging helps your child to feel more comfortable and allows her to watch a movie. The camera has two detectors, one which will be above your child and one which will be under them during the pictures.