Nuclear Medicine Brain Imaging for Seizures (Ictal and Interictal) -
Why is the test done?
The test is used to try to identify the area of
brain that may be involved with a seizure.
The seizure event is called ictal and between
seizures is called interictal.
Is there a preparation for the test?
There is no preparation for this test. Please
be sure to bring what will be needed for a
Where is this test done?
You and your child should arrive at the UW
Health - American Family Children’s
Hospital (1675 Highland Avenue). Check-in
at the Diagnostic and Therapy Center
located on the first floor of the American
Family Children’s Hospital. A pediatric
nurse will place an IV for the test.
You will be escorted to the Nuclear
Medicine Section in University Hospital.
What can be expected?
The sequence of events described in this
information may change based on when you
last seizure occurred.
Day 1. Initial imaging takes place while seizure free. This is called interictal. A small amount
of a radioactive substance will be injected into the IV the pediatric nurse started. This
injection allows us to take the pictures of the brain. About 1 hour after the injection,
pictures are taken with a large device called a SPECT Camera. This camera is like a CT
scanner, where the patient lies down on a table placing the head into a head rest to help
insure the patient is very still for the pictures. The SPECT Camera rotates around the
head to take each picture. The total time of the imaging is 45-60 minutes. After scanning,
there will be an admission for EEG monitoring and weaning of anti-seizure medication if
Day 2. Seizure medications may be tapered or stopped as needed and you’re seizures are
Day 3. Imaging after a seizure (ictal) - Today is the day we will attempt to inject the radioactive
substance during a seizure. We will test the IV first to be sure it is working and place an
arm board to help your arm stay straight for the injection. Both the EEG Technologist and
Nuclear Medicine Technologist will wait with you and your child for a seizure to occur.
If we know what triggers your or your child’s seizures, we may ask that this action or
activity take place. We typically wait for 4-8 hours each day for a seizure. When there is
a seizure, we will very quickly give the injection of the radioactive substance. The EEG
Technologist will remove the EEG leads. You will be escorted to Nuclear Medicine for
the ictal imaging within 1-6 hours after the injection took place. The imaging will be just
like the first day.
If there is no seizure, we may continue to monitor additional days, if needed.
If pregnant, a possibility of pregnancy or are breast feeding, please tell us. This test
should not be done during pregnancy or breast-feeding, except under special
For additional questions?
UW Health patients who live in the area can call the Nuclear Medicine Clinic at
(608) 263-1462. UW Health patients, who live out of the area, should call
1-800-323-8942 and ask for the Nuclear Medicine at University Hospital.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 6/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#7910