Risks

For most people, SPECT scans are safe. If you receive an injection or infusion of radioactive tracer, you may experience:

  • Bleeding, pain or swelling where the needle was inserted in your arm
  • Rarely, an allergic reaction to the radioactive tracer

SPECT scans aren't safe for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding because the radioactive tracer may be passed to the developing fetus or the nursing baby.

Risks of radiation

Your health care team uses a small amount of radiation in order to perform a SPECT scan, and the test is not associated with any long-term health risks. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your exposure to radiation during a SPECT scan.

Dec. 23, 2016
References
  1. Daroff RB, et al. Functional neuroimaging. In: Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
  2. Radionuclide Scanning. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/special-subjects/common-imaging-tests/radionuclide-scanning. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
  3. Nuclear medicine. NIBIB. https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/nuclear-medicine. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
  4. Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT). American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartAttack/Single-Photon-Emission-Computed-Tomography-SPECT_UCM_446358_Article.jsp#.V-hnUSErLrc. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
  5. General Nuclear Medicine. Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=gennuclear. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.