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Radiology Exam: Renal Scan (DMSA)

Dimercaptosuccinic Acid (DMSA) Renal Scan

All children between the ages of six months and five years having a DMSA scan will need to be sedated. This enables the child to lie perfectly still for the scan. For the safety of the child, all children being sedated are required to follow specific dietary restrictions:

  • The child can have no food, formula or milk for eight hours prior to sedation.
  • The child can have breast milk up to four hours prior to sedation.
  • The child can have clear liquids (water, apple juice, plain Jell-O, Pedialyte, Popsicles) up to two hours prior to sedation.

You will be asked to arrive at least two hours prior to the DMSA study. When you arrive, your child will have an IV placed for administration of the radioisotope, which allows the kidneys to be seen. You will then have some free time and will be given a specific time to return to radiology. If you child will be sedated for the exam, the IV may stay in place but will be securely wrapped. Dietary restrictions for sedation must be continued during this waiting time. When you return to radiology, if your child is being sedated, the nurse and physician will finish and exam if not done earlier, and your child will be given medication that will make them sleepy. Once asleep, the child will be wrapped in a papoose to help maintain the desired position for the scan. Children under six months who are not being sedated will also be wrapped in a papoose. At the time of the scan, all children will be positioned lying flat on the scan table, and pictures will be taken for about one hour. Older children are encouraged to bring their favorite DVD or video to watch during the scan.

Sample Schedule

  • Scan time: 2 p.m.
  • Sedation time: 1 p.m.
  • Arrival time: Noon
  • No clear liquids after: 11 a.m.
  • No breast milk after: 9 a.m.
  • No food, formula or milk after: 5 a.m.

Additional Information

If you have any questions about how to talk about this procedure with your child, please call Child Life at 410-955-9652, extension 5. For any other questions or concerns, please contact radiology scheduling at 410-955-4149. They will connect you with a member of the radiology nursing staff.

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