The findings on 99mTc dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) scans were examined in 54 patients aged 3 to 33 years in whom renal scarring had been diagnosed radiologically in childhood after urinary tract infection. There was no recent history of infection. Vesicoureteric reflux had been present in 48 patients and had stopped in 23 at the time of the DMSA scan. In six of the 72 radiologically scarred kidneys, the DMSA scan appeared normal but scarring would have been overlooked in only two of the 54 patients. DMSA scan changes are non-specific and underestimated individual scars in 21 kidneys. The intravenous urogram and the DMSA scan showed good correlation but should be regarded as complementary investigations in these patients, giving morphological and functional information, respectively. On DMSA scans the timing of any preceding urinary tract infection must be considered in order to differentiate diffuse potentially reversible defects in isotope uptake after urinary tract infection from those due to permanent renal scarring.
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