DaTscan is an imaging drug that will be injected into the bloodstream to help your doctor assess a chemical involved in controlling movement, called dopamine. A special device, called a gamma camera, will take pictures of your brain. These pictures and a report will be sent to your doctor, who can discuss the test results with you. The DaTscan results may help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are the result of a Parkinsonian syndrome.
Parkinsonian syndromes occur when the brain is not getting enough of the dopamine it needs to perform certain functions. This affects the ability of the brain to control movement and other muscle functions.
There are different types of Parkinsonian syndromes. The most common is Parkinson’s disease, also known as PD. Other types include multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy. DaTscan cannot distinguish between these different syndromes. In combination with other tests and the clinical assessment of your particular symptoms, DaTscan may help your doctor determine if you are suffering from a Parkinsonian syndrome.
How to Prepare for a DaTscan Test
- Drink lots of fluids and go to the bathroom frequently before your Da-Tscan and for 2 days after.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- Bring a list Of ALL the medications you are currently taking. Prescription and non prescription.
- Call Sun Radiology at 623-815-8200 and ask to speak to a Nuclear Radiologist if you have any questions or concerns about the DaTscan Test.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders when preparing for this test. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications for a short period before the exam. Do not stop taking any medication unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
Tell your doctor if you:
- Have any allergies or other medical conditions
- Are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant
- Have reduced kidney or liver function
This test is NOT for:
- Patients with a known allergy or sensitivity to iodine
- Patients with a known sensitivity to DaTscan
This test may not be right for:
- Patients who are pregnant
- Patients who are nursing
- Patients with reduced kidney or liver function
What to expect the day of the exam:
The entire process takes several hours. The test will be performed by a specially trained healthcare professional.
At least one hour before the DaTscan dose, you will receive another drug to prevent the iodine in DaTscan from going into your thyroid, which may increase the risk of a type of thyroid cancer.
One hour after the first injection the DaTscan drug will be injected through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. Because it takes time for Da- Tscan to be appropriately distributed in the body, you will need to wait three after this injection for the imaging test to begin. You may leave the facility and return after the waiting period for your imaging.
For the imaging portion of the exam, you will be asked to lie on a table and the nuclear technologist will position you on a headrest. A strip of tape, or some other flexible restraint, may be placed across your forehead or chin to prevent your head from moving during the test.
A camera will be positioned above you. It will be very close to your head, but it should not touch you. You must try to remain as still as possible while the camera takes pictures (approximately 60 minutes).
The most common side effects of DaTscan: Headache, upset stomach, sensation of motion, dry mouth or dizziness has occurred in fewer than one out of every 100 patients.