Comparison of differential renal function using technetium-99m mercaptoacetyltriglycine (MAG3) and technetium-99m dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) renography in a paediatric population

Pediatr Radiol. 2008 Aug;38(8):857-62. doi: 10.1007/s00247-008-0908-8. Epub 2008 Jun 13.


Background: In children who have undergone both 99mTc-DMSA and 99mTc-MAG3 studies for the assessment of differential renal function (DRF) and drainage, respectively, we have noticed good agreement between the calculated DRF values, and hypothesized that there is no significant difference in DRF values calculated from these tests. Therefore, both tests may not always be necessary.

Objective: To determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between DRF values calculated using 99mTc-DMSA and those calculated using 99mTc-MAG3.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively identified children imaged with 99mTc-DMSA and 99mTc-MAG3. We recorded DRF values, age, indication, and renal pelvis diameter. For the 99mTc-DMSA studies we recorded the imaging time after injection. For the 99mTc-MAG3 studies we recorded the delay between injection and data acquisition, diuretic use and evidence of delayed drainage or reflux.

Results: We identified 100 episodes in 92 children where both 99mTc-DMSA and 99mTc-MAG3 scans had been performed within a few days. The commonest indication was urinary tract infection or pelviureteric junction obstruction. The mean age of the children was 6.96 years. A significant but clinically acceptable trend was seen between abnormal DRF and difference between tests. A significant link was found with the difference between tests and the time of imaging after DMSA injection, and also with scarring. No significant effect was caused by renal pelvis dilatation, delayed drainage, frusemide administration, or delayed 99mTc-MAG3 imaging.

Conclusion: If a 99mTc-MAG3 study has been performed then a 99mTc-DMSA study is unnecessary provided DRF is normal on the 99mTc-MAG3 study and there is no scarring. A change in practice would lead to considerable savings in time, cost and radiation burden.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Radioisotope Renography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Technetium Tc 99m Dimercaptosuccinic Acid*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Mertiatide*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Mertiatide
  • Technetium Tc 99m Dimercaptosuccinic Acid