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Renal Scintigraphy


Renal scintigraphy is an imaging test that uses a radioactive medicine and a camera to take pictures of your kidneys. The pictures show the shape of your kidneys and how they are working. This test may be used to find out how a transplanted kidney is working. It may also show blood flow problems in your kidneys that may be causing your high blood pressure or problems when you urinate. You may also need this test if your blood or urine tests show that your kidneys are not working properly. Your healthcare provider will use these test results to learn about your condition and decide the best way to treat you.


The week before the test:

  • Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for the test, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of the test.
  • Contrast liquid may be used during the test to help your kidneys show up better in the pictures. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • If you are a woman, tell your healthcare provider if you know or think you might be pregnant.
  • You may need blood or urine tests to tell healthcare providers how your kidneys are working. Your healthcare provider may also check your weight so he knows how much radioactive medicine you will need for your test.
  • You will need to be well hydrated for the kidney test to work. Ask your healthcare provider how much water you should drink before your test.

The day of the test:

  • Take only the medicines your healthcare provider told you to take.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal piece of paper (informed consent). It gives your healthcare provider permission to do the test. It also explains the problems that may happen with the test, and your treatment choices. Be sure all of your questions have been answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

Your healthcare provider will tell you to lie on your back or sit up straight. An IV will be put in a vein. You will be given radioactive medicine through the IV. The radioactive medicine will help show how fluid flows through your kidneys. Pictures of your kidneys are taken. You may need to change positions during the test. Renal scintigraphy can take 45 minutes to a few hours as the radioactive medicine moves through your body.

After your test:

  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink more liquids than usual. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids will help flush the radioactive medicine out of your body.
  • You may not be able to breastfeed after this test. Ask healthcare providers how long you must stop breastfeeding.


  • You cannot make it to your test.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or the test.


You may have an allergic reaction to the radioactive medicine used for this test. The results of your test may not be clear. Side effects from the radioactive medicine may start immediately and can last for several days. Side effects include vomiting, chills, nausea, headache, dizziness, or a fast heartbeat. You may notice increases in your blood pressure if you monitor it at home.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.