DMSA Scan For Your Child’s Kidney Health: All You Need To Know!

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DMSA Scan For Your Child’s Kidney Health: All You Need To Know!

Did the pediatric doctor order a DMSA scan to evaluate your kid’s kidney health? And you wonder what it is and how it precisely serves.


You have reached the right place! This blog post can help you understand the diagnostic test your kid is up to pursuing shortly. So, why not stay tuned with me hereafter?

What Is A DMSA Scan?

Dimercaptosuccinic Acid scan, or in short, DMSA scan, is a diagnostic imaging procedure that specifically works to assess the structure and function of the kidneys, especially among children. Yes. A renal scan thy be! The one focusing on the renal parenchyma, the functional tissue of your child’s kidneys responsible for filtering and excreting waste products from the bloodstream.

The scan requires an administration of technetium-99m combined with dimercaptosuccinic acids to support the gamma cameras in performing the scan, tracing, and mapping the renal morphology on the computer screen.

The tracer administration typically occurs intravenously into your kid’s veins. After mixing with the bloodstream and traveling to the kidneys, they start to accumulate in the functional tissues. Meanwhile, the specialized camera detects their radioactive emission and produces high-resolution, detailed images of your child’s renal anatomy.

DMSA scans are non-invasive. By this, I mean; it does not need the body to experience any wear and tear or cuts. As a  result, your child does not need a hospital stay to get the scan done. It’s only a matter of twenty minutes. However, the tracer requires around two to three hours to dissolve and accumulate. So, make sure you keep yourself free accordingly to be by your kid’s side.

DMSA scans are safe compared to traditional X-rays or CT (computed tomography scan) as the radioactive tracer used in the procedure has a short half-life! It means the radioactivity dies out fast, and the radiation exposure is minimal and generally not of concern. There is no room for safety issues to arise for your child. Relax!

How Does A DMSA Scan Serve?

A DMSA scan tends to assess –

  • The Size,
  • Shape, and
  • Position of your child’s kidneys.

DMSA scans can evaluate how well the kidneys function, or to be precise, how well your child’s kidneys –

  • Eliminates waste, extra fluids, or drugs from the body,
  • Keeps a balance of the body fluids or acids,
  • Produces hormones regulating blood pressure,
  • Produces active Vitamin D for bone health, and
  • Regulates the production of RBCs (or red blood cells)!

Yes. This scan can serve with an accurate and in-detail diagnosis of your child’s kidneys and allow your doctors to identify disorders and diseases in their early phase. Some of the common kidney conditions that a DMSA scan can help show are as follows.

Renal Scarring

If and when your child has scars in your kidney or areas of damage caused by a preexisting kidney condition, or a traumatic injury, a DMSA scan can detect it! The scan can not just help determine the reason for damage but also the extent.

Kidney Infections & Inflammations

Of course, DMSA scans can help locate infections and inflammations in or around the kidneys, like pyelonephritis. In fact, while the doctors suspect your child has a urinary tract infection (UTI), they may ask for a DMSA scan to determine whether the infections have spread to the kidneys.

Congenital Abnormalities

DMSA scans can reveal structural malformations in your child’s kidneys that exist since birth, whether one of the kidneys is abnormally small or missing, whether two are joined, forming a horseshoe, or replaced by multiple cysts.

Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR)

The condition called; vesicoureteral reflux occurs when urine flows backward from the bladder to the kidneys. While your kids have such a condition, DMSA scans can help evaluate the severity and map any associated kidney damage.

How Accurate Is A DMSA Scan For Diagnosing Diseases of Your Kidneys?


Amidst so many diagnostic modalities of today, while this scan offers a primary focus on kidney concerns, it’s bound to have high accuracy.

  • According to a study by Science Direct, a DMSA scan holds about 92% sensitivity in screening pyelonephritis.
  • Science Direct also notes that the scan is nearly 89.8% specific in detecting renal scarring.
  • Another research study by Springer states that DMSA scans reserve about 84.6% specificity in diagnosing recurrences of febrile UTIs in children.
  • A few studies show that a DMSA scan has about 95% sensitivity and specificity in tracing high-grade vesicoureteral reflux. However, studies even highlight that a late DMSA scan; for the same has a deteriorated sensitivity of 87.5%.

This is why many medical experts and healthcare professionals consider the scan the gold-standard method for diagnosing your kidneys.

When Do Pediatric Doctors Ask For A DMSA Scan?

Pediatric doctors may prescribe a DMSA scan if they find out red flags in your child’s health system, such as –

  • Severe vomiting and nausea,
  • High fever,
  • Persistent and severe abdominal pain,
  • Frequent or no urination,
  • Pain while urinating,
  • Change in the urine color to pink or dark, foamy urine,
  • Skin color turned pale,
  • Rashes,
  • Itchy skin,
  • Swelling in the hands, feet, arms, legs, or face,
  • Excessive puffiness around the eyes,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Blood in the stool,
  • Poor appetite,
  • Extreme tiredness or fatigue,
  • Headache,
  • Body aches,
  • Absurd weight loss or poor growth,
  • Difficulty concentrating,
  • Shortness of breath, and so forth!

If you notice any of these symptoms in your children, do not wait to consult a pediatric doctor. These are all signs that your kids have kidney diseases and need immediate medical attention to stop them from getting worse.

Last Words:

You must note that specific DMSA scan protocols and practices may vary among healthcare professionals and centers. Hence, if your child is on a schedule for a DMSA scan, make sure; you ask the healthcare providers about the preparation, including diet and existing medications, and discuss any concerns you may have! For instance, inquire about the use of tracers in case your child has any kind of allergies.

Do you think of any other concerns; that you need to clarify; before taking your kids for the DMSA scan? Comment.

For more healthcare scoops, stay tuned with me at

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Hi, I am Alka Tiwari, Founder & Patient Care Executive at Helping you get the diagnostics scans services like MRI, CT Scan, UltraSound & PET Scan, etc at the best price. At MRIChandigarh's blog, I will be writing to create awareness and to educate you about how and where to get diagnostic scans done in Chandigarh at the best price with best-in-class services.
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