Renal (Kidney) Scan



A Renal Scan is used to help diagnosis kidney disease and certain problems with the rest of the urinary tract. It is primarily used to evaluate the function and size of the kidneys.

There are two main tests

- DMSA
- DTPA/MAG3

DMSA

This test looks for abnormalities such as scarring and infection. It also measures the relative function of each kidney.

The Procedure

You will receive an injection into a vein in your arm containing a very small amount of radioactive tracer. This tracer is carried in the blood to the kidneys. Images are taken 3 hours after the injection for 45 minutes.

Side Effect

There are no side effects from the injection and you may drive after the scan.

Please advise the Nuclear Medicine Technologist if you are pregnant or breast feeding, or unsure of your pregnancy status before commencing the procedure.

Patient Preparation

You will need to be well hydrated (drink 3-4 glasses of water) before the test. You can go to the toilet as normal.

DTPA/MAG3

This test looks at the blood flow to the kidneys and function of the kidneys.

The Procedure

You will receive an injection into a vein in your arm containing a very small amount of radioactive tracer. Images are taken during the injection and will continue for 30 minutes. At the end of this, you may be given a small injection of a diuretic (a medication that makes your kidneys produce more urine) called Lasix (Frusemide). Further pictures will be taken for about 30 minutes.

In some cases, a medication called Captopril is given. We will give you further instructions if you are having a Captopril Renal Scan when you make your appointment.

Renal scans

A normal scan over 20 minutes demonstrating the excretion of the radioisotope by both kidneys.

Side Effect


There are no side effects from the radioactive injection and you may drive after the scan.

Please advise the Nuclear Medicine Technologist if you are pregnant or breast feeding, or unsure of your pregnancy status before commencing the procedure.

Both Lasix (Frusemide) and Captopril are very safe and widely used medication. Please inform us if you have drug allergies particularly to Sulphur containing medications.

Patient Preparation

Patients can eat and drink normally.

You will need to be well hydrated (drink 3-4 glasses of water) before the test. You can go to the toilet as normal.

You should take your medication as usual.

If you are having a Captopril Renal Scan, we shall give you further instructions.