Radioisotope renography

Radioisotope renography
Radioisotope renography
ICD-9-CM 92.03
MeSH D011866
OPS-301 code 3-706

Radioisotope renography is a form of kidney imaging involving radioisotopes.

A MAG3 scan is a diagnostic imaging procedure that allows a nuclear medicine physician or radiologist to visualize the kidneys and learn more about how they are functioning. MAG3 is an acronym for mercapto acetyl tri glycine, a compound that is chelated with a radioactive element - technetium-99m.

NOTE: A MAG3 scan, along with a DTPA scan, are both types of renograms.[1] This article only deals with MAG3 scans.


Scan procedure

After injection into the venous system, the compound is excreted by the kidneys and its progress through the renal system can be tracked with a gamma camera. If the kidney is not getting blood for example, it will not be viewed at all, even if it looks structurally normal in medical ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging. If the kidney is getting blood, but there is an obstruction lower down, the contrast will not pass beyond the level of the obstruction, whereas if there is a partial obstruction then there is a delayed transit time for the MAG3 to pass.[2] More information can be gathered by calculating time activity curves; with normal kidney perfusion, peak activity should be observed after 3–5 minutes. The relative quantitative information gives the differential function between each kidney's filtration activity.

Clinical use

The technique is very useful in evaluating the functioning of kidneys. It is widely used before renal transplantation to assess the vascularity of the kidney to be transplanted and with a test dose of captopril to highlight possible renal artery stenosis in the donor's other kidney,[3] and later the performance of the transplant.[4][5]

The use of the test to identify reduced renal function after test doses of captopril (an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor drug) has also been used to identify the cause of hypertension in patients with renal failure.[6][7] Initially there was uncertainty as to the usefulness,[8] or best test parameter to identify renal artery stenosis, the eventual consensus was that the distinctive finding is of alteration in the differential function.[9]


In 1986, it was developed at the University of Utah by Dr. Alan R. Fritzberg, Dr. Sudhakar Kasina, and Dr. Dennis Eshima.[10] The drug underwent clinical trials in 1987 [11] and passed Phase III testing in 1988.[12]

99mTc-MAG3 has replaced the older iodine-131 orthoiodohippurate or I131-Hippuran because of better quality imaging regardless of the level of renal function,[13] and with the benefit of being able to administer lower radiation dosages.[12]


  1. ^ "Renogram" (PDF). patient leaflet. Southend Hospital. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  2. ^ González A, Jover L, Mairal LI, Martin-Comin J, Puchal R (1994). "Evaluation of obstructed kidneys by discriminant analysis of 99mTc-MAG3 renograms". Nuklearmedizin 33 (6): 244–7. PMID 7854921. 
  3. ^ Dubovsky EV, Diethelm AG, Keller F, Russell CD (1992). "Renal transplant hypertension caused by iliac artery stenosis" (PDF). J. Nucl. Med. 33 (6): 1178–80. PMID 1534577. 
  4. ^ Kramer W, Baum RP, Scheuermann E, Hör G, Jonas D (1993). "[Follow-up after kidney transplantation. Sequential functional scintigraphy with technetium-99m-DTPA or technetium-99m-MAG3]" (in German). Urologe A 32 (2): 115–20. PMID 8475609. 
  5. ^ Li Y, Russell CD, Palmer-Lawrence J, Dubovsky EV (1994). "Quantitation of renal parenchymal retention of technetium-99m-MAG3 in renal transplants". J. Nucl. Med. 35 (5): 846–50. PMID 8176469. 
  6. ^ Datseris IE, Bomanji JB, Brown EA, et al. (1994). "Captopril renal scintigraphy in patients with hypertension and chronic renal failure". J. Nucl. Med. 35 (2): 251–4. PMID 8294993. 
  7. ^ Kahn D, Ben-Haim S, Bushnell DL, Madsen MT, Kirchner PT (1994). "Captopril-enhanced 99Tcm-MAG3 renal scintigraphy in subjects with suspected renovascular hypertension". Nucl Med Commun 15 (7): 515–28. doi:10.1097/00006231-199407000-00005. PMID 7970428. 
  8. ^ Schreij G, van Es PN, van Kroonenburgh MJ, Kemerink GJ, Heidendal GA, de Leeuw PW (1996). "Baseline and postcaptopril renal blood flow measurements in hypertensives suspected of renal artery stenosis". J. Nucl. Med. 37 (10): 1652–5. PMID 8862302. 
  9. ^ Roccatello D, Picciotto G (1997). "Captopril-enhanced scintigraphy using the method of the expected renogram: improved detection of patients with renin-dependent hypertension due to functionally significant renal artery stenosis" (PDF). Nephrol. Dial. Transplant. 12 (10): 2081–6. doi:10.1093/ndt/12.10.2081. PMID 9351069. 
  10. ^ Fritzberg AR, Kasina S, Eshima D, Johnson DL (1986). "Synthesis and biological evaluation of technetium-99m MAG3 as a hippuran replacement". J. Nucl. Med. 27 (1): 111–6. PMID 2934521. 
  11. ^ Taylor A, Eshima D, Alazraki N (1987). "99mTc-MAG3, a new renal imaging agent: preliminary results in patients". Eur J Nucl Med 12 (10): 510–4. doi:10.1007/BF00620476. PMID 2952506. 
  12. ^ a b Al-Nahhas AA, Jafri RA, Britton KE, et al. (1988). "Clinical experience with 99mTc-MAG3, mercaptoacetyltriglycine, and a comparison with 99mTc-DTPA". Eur J Nucl Med 14 (9-10): 453–62. doi:10.1007/BF00252388. PMID 2975219. 
  13. ^ Taylor A, Eshima D, Christian PE, Milton W (1987). "Evaluation of Tc-99m mercaptoacetyltriglycine in patients with impaired renal function" (PDF). Radiology 162 (2): 365–70. PMID 2948212. 

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