A single photon absorptiometry method to measure the arterial concentration of injected iodinated contrast agent was developed. A prototype absorptiometry unit was built which consists of either a square or circular cross section acrylic (polymethylmethacrylate) cuvette connected to an arterial catheter at one end and a paristaltic pump at the other via PE60 surgical tubing. At opposing ends of the length of the cuvette were a 0.4 GBq 125I source and a scintillation crystal/photomultiplier tube assembly. This assembly was connected to a single-channel analyser (SCA)/scaler unit to count the transmitted photons through the cuvette. The scaler was interfaced to an IBM PC and counts accumulated in preset time intervals were transmitted to the computer via a serial interface. Experiments were performed to calibrate the unit for measurement of blood concentration of contrast agent (Isovue 300) and to determine the dispersion characteristics of the unit. Deconvolution was used to correct the measured concentration waveform for the dispersion introduced by passage through the lead-in tubing and the cuvette. The precision of concentration measurements was determined to be between 5 and 10% using computer simulations and theoretical calculations. The method was used successfully in a number of patient and animal studies to measure the contrast concentration in blood following intravenous injection of contrast agent.