Technetium-99m-MAG3 renal studies in spinal cord injury patients: Normal range, reproducibility, and change as a function of duration and level of injury

W. C. Klingensmith, D. P. Lammertse, D. E. Briggs, W. I. Smith, J. F. Roberts, J. W. Froelich, J. D. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The normal range, reproducibility, and change as a function of duration and level of injury for Tc-99m-MAG3 renal studies were quantitated in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. Methods: Five SCI patients without evidence of renal disease in each of four groups: less than 2 months, 2-12 months, 1-2 years, and greater than 2 years from time of injury, were each studied twice. There were at least two patients with paraplegia and two with tetraplegia in each group. Renal clearance (camera based method), percent function in each kidney, time of peak renal parenchymal activity, and half time of parenchmal activity following the peak were evaluated. The peak and half times were determined with regions of interest (ROIs) over the entire kidney and over just the cortex. All results were compared to normal ranges previously established in normal subjects of the same age range using the same methodology. Results: Renal clearance in the less than 2 month SCI patients was not significantly different from normal subjects in either paraplegic or in tetraplegic individuals. However, clearance in tetraplegics was increased by 28.5% at 2-12 month, increased by 50.6% at 1-2 years, and decreased by 25.9% at greater than 2 years compared to normal subjects (all P < 0.02). Clearance in those with paraplegia showed a similar, but less marked, trend (P = NS). The time of peak parenchymal activity when measured with cortical ROIs did not vary among patient groups or level of injury, but was increased compared to normal subjects (P < 0.05). The percent function in each kidney and half time following the peak were symmetrical, did not differ among patient groups or with level of injury, and did not differ from normal subjects. The parenchymal peak time was significantly shorter with cortical rather than renal ROIs in all patient groups (P < 0.05). In serial studies in the same patient the percent standard deviation in total renal clearance was less than between single studies in different patients, but the decrease was significant for only the right kidney (P < 0.03), and the decrease was not as great as in normal subjects. In addition. the percent standard deviation for percent function in each kidney was significantly less than the percent standard deviations in single studies (P < 0.02). There were no significant differences between intra- and interpatient studies for any other parameter. Conclusion: We conclude that: (1) renal clearance measured with Tc-99m-MAG3 in tetraplegic patients increases significantly during the first 2 years following injury and decreases significantly thereafter; there is a similar, but much less marked, trend in paraplegics, (2) parenchymal peak times with cortical ROIs occur later for SCI patients than for normal subjects, and (3) there is more intrapatient variation in total renal clearance and percent renal clearance on a side in SCI patients than in normal subjects suggesting that it may be harder to study SCI patients reproducibly. These findings should be taken into account when performing and interpreting Tc-99m-MAG3 renal studies in SCI patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a grant from Mallinckrodt Medical, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


  • Tc-99m-mercaptoacetyltriglycine (MAG3)
  • paraplegia
  • renal clearance
  • renal studies
  • reproducibility
  • tetraplegia


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