Renal scan
St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

Renal scan

Definition

A renal scan is a nuclear medicine exam in which a small amount of radioactive material (radioisotope) is used to measure the function of the kidneys.

Alternative Names

Renogram; Kidney scan

How the Test is Performed

The specific type of scan may vary. This article provides a general overview.

A renal scan is similar to a renal perfusion scintiscan. It may be done along with that test.

You will be asked to lie on the scanner table. The health care provider will place a tight band or blood pressure cuff on your upper arm. This creates pressure and helps your arm veins become bigger. The inner elbow is scrubbed with numbing medicine (antiseptic) and a small amount of radioisotope is injected into a vein. The specific radioisotope used may vary, depending on what is being studied.

The cuff or band is on the upper arm is removed, and the radioactive material moves through your blood. The kidneys are scanned a short time later. Several images are taken, each lasting 1 or 2 seconds. The total scan time takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

A computer reviews the images and provides detailed information about how your kidney works. For example, it can tell your doctor how much blood the kidney filters over time.

You should be able to go home after the scan. You may be asked to drink plenty of fluids and urinate frequently to help remove the radioactive material from the body.

How to Prepare for the Test

Tell your health care provider if you take any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or blood pressure medications. These drugs might affect the test.

You may be asked to drink additional fluids before the scan.

How the Test Will Feel

Some people feel discomfort when the needle is placed into the vein. However, you will not feel the radioactive material. The scanning table may be hard and cold. You will need to lie still during the scan.

Why the Test is Performed

A renal scan tells your doctor how your kidneys work. It also shows their size, position, and shape.  It is may be done if:

  • You cannot have other x-rays using contrast (dye) material because you are sensitive or allergic to it, or you have reduced kidney function
  • You have had a kidney transplant and your doctor wants to check how well it is working and to look for signs of rejection
  • You have high blood pressure and your doctor wants to see how well your kidneys are working

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results are a sign of reduced kidney function. This may be due to:

  • Acute or chronic kidney failure
  • Chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
  • Complications of a kidney transplant
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Hydronephrosis
  • Injury of the kidney and ureter
  • Narrowing or blockage of the arteries that carry blood to the kidney 
  • Obstructive uropathy

Risks

There is a slight amount of radiation from the radioisotope. Most of this radiation exposure occurs to the kidneys and bladder. Almost all radiation is gone from the body in 24 hours. Caution is advised if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Extremely rarely, a person will have an allergic reaction to the radioisotope, which may include severe anaphylaxis.

 

References

Fulgham PF, Bishoff JT. Urinary tract imaging: Basic principles.In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 4. 


Review Date: 10/9/2012
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 


Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
History
Mission
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs
Assessment

Newsroom
Services
Brain & Spine
Cancer
Heart
Maternity
Orthopedics
Pulmonary
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
mystlukes
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Health Risk Assessments
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Volunteer
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
Careers
Careers
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile