Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography

Also known as: SPECT, SPECT scan.

What is a single photon emission computerized tomography?

Single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) is a nuclear imaging test that shows brain/other organ function by measuring blood flow in the brain/organ.

What happens during the procedure?

A safe, short acting radioactive substance is injected into a vein in your child’s arm and a CT (computed tomography) scan is performed shortly thereafter.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient may need to avoid food, drink or medication for a period of time before the test. All jewelry or anything metal should not be worn during the test.

What are the risk factors?

While radiation is a small risk, the material injected is quickly removed from the body and the benefits of the study far outweigh any small risk present. Inserting a small needle into a vein can (but not usually) be associated with pain, bleeding, swelling, infection and other problems.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 04, 2021 11:34 AM

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