Brain

Brain scan – HMPAO

What is a HMPAO brain scan?

Brain scans investigate the blood supply and blood distribution to the brain to help determine the possible cause of a number of symptoms.

Is there any special preparation for the scan?

Prior to arrival, please ensure that for 12 hours before your appointment you do not drink any alcohol or anything with caffeine in it e.g. coffee, tea or Coca Cola.

What happens when I arrive in the department?

Upon arrival in the Department you will be taken into one of the treatment rooms. The lights in the room will then be dimmed, and you will be asked to lie on the examination couch. A cannula, that is a thin tube, will be inserted into a vein in your arm through which an imaging tracer will be injected 10 to 15 minutes later. During your time in this room you will need to keep very still and quiet with your eyes open. In order to minimize stimulation of the brain you will be asked not to read or talk until the study has finished. A radiographer may stay with you, but will talk to you as little as possible and it is important that you do not talk to them unless it is essential.

How long between the injection and the scan?

The images are taken about one and a half hours after the injection.

How are the pictures acquired?

You will be asked to lie flat on the imaging couch. Your head will be immobilised using bandages as it is most important that you do not move whilst the pictures are being taken. The cameras will not touch you but be positioned very close to your head, and then will be moved around your head taking images at various angles.

The whole imaging procedure will take about 45 minutes and is entirely painless. The radiographer will remain with you throughout the scan, but once again, usually will not talk to you until the process is complete.

DaTSCAN

What is a DaTSAN?

A DaTSCAN is a procedure for an imaging of the brain particularly used for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease and to distinguish it from other tremors.

Is there any special preparation for the scan?

The iodine agent used to image the brain for this study is also taken up by the thyroid gland. To prevent the radioactive iodine going into the thyroid it is necessary to take Lugols iodine the evening before the injection and the evening afterwards. You may collect this from pharmacy 2 –3 days before your first appointment.

The Lugols iodine has a very bitter taste to it, so you may wish to dilute it with squash, or some other liquid, to help to improve the taste.

If you are or might be pregnant it is important that you contact the Department before starting this medication.

What happens when I arrive in the department?

Upon arrival in the Department you will be given a small injection of a slightly radioactive substance into a vein in your arm. Although uncommon, you may experience some mild side-effects from the injection, including a mild headache or vertigo. Please mention any discomfort to one of the radiographers in the Department.

How long between the injection and the scan?

The scan will be carried out 4 hours after the injection, during which time you may leave the department or hospital if you wish.

How are the images acquired?

Upon your return you will be asked to empty your bladder and then lie on a couch under the special camera. Your head will be immobilised using bandages as it is most important that you do not move whilst the pictures are being taken. The cameras will not touch you but will be positioned very close to your head, and then will be moved around your head taking images at various angles. The whole imaging procedure will take about 45 minutes and is entirely painless. The radiographer usually will remain with you throughout the scan

Upon completion you will be reminded to take your thyroid blocking drink that evening.

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