There are two types of brain SPECT exams: with and without Diamox. Both types of brain SPECT exams study the flow of blood to the brain.

A brain SPECT exam with Diamox uses a mild medication to dilate your blood vessels as well as a radioactive tracer. First, the technologist will inject the Diamox through a vein in your arm. After 30 minutes, the technologist will then inject the tracer through the vein. Painless images of your brain will be taken one hour after the tracer is injected. If you are allergic to sulfa, you should not have a brain SPECT with Diamox.

A brain SPECT scan follows the same procedure as a brain SPECT with Diamox, but the Diamox is not administered. Sulfa allergies are not a concern for this exam.

If your doctor orders you to have both exams, they cannot be scheduled on the same day.

Each of the exams will take approximately two-and-a-half hours.


  • You may keep your normal diet.
  • Bring a complete list of your medications.
  • Remember to bring the written order (prescription), for this test, given to you by your doctor.


  • Sulfa allergy
  • Kidney failure
  • Patients of childbearing age should review the pregnancy and breastfeeding guidelines.

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