DMSA scintigraphy

DMSA scintigraphy is a radionuclide scan of the kidneys utilising dimercaptosuccinic acid. It is used to identify renal parenchymal defects, some of which are due to chronic pyelonephritic scarring. Intravenously injected Tc-99m-labelled DMSA binds to the kidneys and emits gamma rays which are detected by a camera. The outline and distribution of renal tissue on these images can be seen. Uptake of DMSA by each kidney can be compared to give an estimate of the relative function of right and left kidneys. The radiation dose incurred is approximately 1 mSv, equivalent to 4 months of natural background radiation (about 40–50 chest radiographs).