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What is a DMSA scan?
A DMSA scan is used to check how well your kidneys are working. It is also used to show any potentially scarred areas in your kidneys, causing them not to work well as they should.
What if I have a urine infection?
If you have had a urine infection in the four months before your appointment date, please ring us as we may need to change your appointment.
Can I have a DMSA if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
If there is a possibility that you are pregnant or you are currently breastfeeding please inform the department before your appointment.
Can I bring someone with me?
Whenever possible, only the patient should attend their appointment unless you are a parent accompanying a child or a carer for a patient with additional needs.
What will happen at my appointment?
A radioactive substance will be injected into a vein, usually in your arm or the back of your hand, which is then absorbed by the kidneys.
It can take between two and three hours for the radioactive substance to reach the kidneys. During this time, we ask you to leave the department and return at a later time on that same day or your scan. If this is not possible please let us know.
What happens when I return for my scan?
You will be required to lie still on our imaging bed, while three pictures are taken from the front and back. Each picture can take up to 10 minutes.
You do not normally have to undress but we will ask you to remove any heavy or metal objects such as a belt.
Occasionally images may be repeated or extra images obtained if necessary. Depending on how many pictures are needed, the scan will take approximately 45 minutes.
If you have young children or pregnant friends/family please limit close contact with them for the rest of the day. You can be in the same room but avoid sitting close to each other for long periods.
What happens after my appointment?
After completion of the appointment, you can resume all usual activities. Eat as normal and keep well hydrated.
When will I get my results?
The report will be sent to your referring doctor. They will contact you to discuss the results. If you have any enquiries regarding your results please contact the department where the referral was originally made.
Are there any risks?
The radioactive tracer administered will expose you to a small amount of ionising radiation, consistent with the desired diagnostic outcome.
The risks are very low and the benefits of having the results from the DMSA scan greatly outweigh the risk.
Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH)
Nuclear Medicine Department
Louisa Martindale Building, Royal Sussex County Hospital
Eastern Road, Brighton BN2 5BE
01273 696955 Ext. 64381 or 64382
Princess Royal Hospital (PRH)
Imaging Department, Nuclear Medicine Department
Lewes Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 4EX
01444 441881 Ext. 65403
This leaflet is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.