DAT brain scan

This is a test to look at the level of dopamine receptor cells in the brain using a small amount of an iodine based radioactive material. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that transmits messages between nerve cells and muscles. With Parkinson’s Disease the dopamine cells degenerate causing the patient to experience problems with movements, such as walking and dexterity. On arrival, you will be given two tablets of a medicine to block the uptake of the iodine by the thyroid. About 20 minutes later, you will be given an injection of the radioactive tracer in your arm. This feels very similar to a blood test and has no side effects.

The images are taken about three hours after the injection. You will be asked to lie on your back on a bed with your head in a small cradle. Two cameras will move around your head to create the images but they do not touch the head. The images take about 25 minutes to acquire.

After all the images are completed, the technologist will check them before you go home. We will not be able to give out the result of the study immediately but a written report will be sent to the referring doctor. There are no side effects from the test.