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DTPA Scan

DTPA scan is a radioactive tagged DTPA used to test the function of kidneys as well as find out if the problem is related to the obstruction of the urine flow in the ureters / bladder.

It can also be used for checking circulation of blood through arteries of the kidney as well reflux of urine from bladder back into ureters.

In summary it is a test for functional evaluation in comparison to ultrasound which is a test for structural evaluation and in combination can provide both functional and structural evaluation of kidneys and the urinary tract.

In context of mild hydro nephrosis and duplicate collecting system DTPA scan will be useful to find out if there is any obstruction in the urinary system on left side to explain for the mild hydro nephrosis.

DTPA is also a good test to follow up, improvement in kidney function following specific treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pent etic acid or diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) is an aminopolycarboxylic acid consisting of a diethylenetriamine backbone with five carboxymethyl groups.
To see how the left and right kidney work comparatively. This test allow any sites of blockage to be identified and detected.
Please allow approximately 1.5hrs
  • A cannula is placed in a vein in your arm.
  • You will be administered with a small injection of a radioactive tracer is administered through the cannula. This injection allows the Kidneys and Bladder to be seen by the camera. Images are taken for a 30 minutes whilst lying under the camera.
  • A second injection of Lasix may be given to promote the Kidneys to empty. This is then mathematically calculated.
Yes. You need to drink 1L of water and be finished 1 hour prior to your appointment time. There is no need to hold on to the water you can urinate when needed.
There are no reported side effects from this test. If however, Lasix is administered it is advised you keep well hydrated for 4 hours following the procedure. This will ensure you do not feel unwell due to dehydration.
As a result of the radioactive injection/s you will be giving off a small amount of radiation. It is advisable you limit your time in close proximity to pregnant women and children for 24 hours following the test.
  • Before the test inform your doctor if within the past 2 days, you have had an X-ray test using barium contrast material or have taken a medication that can interfere with test results.
  • You may be asked to drink 4 to 5 glasses of water right before the scan.
Diethylenetriamene pentaacetate (DTPA) test is a test done to assess function of each kidney as well as to see the degree of obstruction. Ultrasound does not given information about function but reports only about the looks of the kidney. One can survive normally with one normal kidney. The decision about removing the kidney should be done after the DTPA scan is looked at and as per the functional status of kidneys.
A kidney scan is a test to check how your kidneys look and how well they’re working. Doctors also call it a renal scan, renal imaging, or renal scintigraphy.
Your doctor may recommend that you get this nuclear medicine scan because it offers information that other tests -- such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI -- can’t provide.
The test uses a small amount of radioactive material that’s inserted into your body. A special camera and computer detect traces of that material in your kidneys in order to make images.
This test can help show how well each kidney is working, as well as problems that affect how both kidneys work, including:
  • Blood flow problems in the arteries that supply your kidneys.
  • Blocked urine flow (hydronephrosis).
  • Reflux of urine.
  • Pockets of infection (abscesses).
  • Other kidney diseases.
  • Your body rejecting a transplanted kidney.
Your doctor will let you know whether you need to drink extra fluids before your scan or whether your bladder should be empty.
Tell your doctor about any vitamins and supplements you take and whether you take aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. These are a type of pain medicine called nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Leave all jewelry at home. You may need to wear a gown during the scan.
Certain things can affect your test and make it less accurate. Let your doctor know if:
  • You've had another test with radioactive material recently because you might still have some in your body.
  • You've had a barium test recently because it might still be in your digestive tract.
  • You take diuretics or medicine for your heart or high blood pressure.
  • You've had an intravenous pyelogram test (a type of kidney X-ray that uses a contrast material) within the last 24 hours.
To start the procedure, you’ll get an intravenous line (IV) in a vein in your hand or arm. The radioactive material, also called a tracer, will pass through the IV. You could have a metallic taste in your mouth briefly.
You may have to wait for the tracer to collect in your kidneys. When it’s time for the scan, you’ll either lie or sit on the scanning table. The camera might move around you, or you might have to change positions to allow images from different angles.
You may have to wait while the technician makes sure all the images are of good quality. It’s possible that you’ll have to repeat some positions to capture better images or additional views. If you do, it doesn’t necessarily mean your doctor saw anything bad on your scan.
Depending on the specifics of your test, your scan could take as little as 30 minutes or as long as 2 hours.
When the test is over, your IV comes out, and you’re ready to go home. The medical team may tell you to drink lots of fluids for 24 hours. Emptying your bladder often will flush the tracer from your system.
If you have any redness, pain, or swelling at the site of your IV, let your doctor know. You might have an infection or a reaction to the tracer.
The amount of radioactive material used is small, so the risk is low.
A few people have allergic reactions.
You have to stay still during the test, and that’s uncomfortable for some people.
If you have any of these conditions or issues, let your doctor know in advance:
  • You're pregnant or might be pregnant. The scan could be unsafe for your baby.
  • You're breastfeeding. The radioactive material could taint your breast milk.
  • You're allergic to any medicines or sensitive to latex.
  • You're claustrophobic. The camera may move very close to you during the scan.
Your scan will go to a radiologist or other doctor trained to read the images. Then, a report will go to the doctor who ordered the test, and they’ll discuss the results with you.