What is a DAT scan

If in doubt, better DAT scan

BERLIN. Study results show that the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is incorrect in up to a quarter of the cases. The Professional Association of German Nuclear Medicine (BDN) recommends in a communication that the suspected clinical diagnosis be confirmed by imaging if in doubt. This is the case, among other things, when medication does not work.

The demise of the dopamine-producing cells can be proven by nuclear medicine SPECT examinations. "With SPECT imaging today we can make the dopamine transporter visible, the DAT, which, like a recycling system, brings the neurotransmitter dopamine back into the nerve cell.

If the cell dies, the recycling system disappears too, "Professor Philipp T. Meyer, Clinic for Nuclear Medicine at the Freiburg University Hospital, quoted." Together with other PET examinations, this DAT scan maps the dopamine metabolism fairly precisely. "

This is important because, even with proven experts, the neurological Parkinson's diagnosis comparatively often turns out to be incorrect. "Several studies show that ten to fifteen percent of the patients who were diagnosed as definite Parkinson's cases on the basis of the clinical-neurological examination had an unsuspicious finding in the subsequent nuclear medicine DAT scan," says Meyer.

In such cases, the nuclear medicine specialists speak of SWEED, that is, of "subjects with scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit" - which translates as "people without evidence of a dopamine deficit". Follow-up checks showed that this SWEED did not develop any symptoms for years, so it is very likely that you did not suffer from Parkinson's disease, the press release said.

Doctors without the relevant expertise are wrong in diagnosing Parkinson's disease in up to a quarter of the cases. whether or not nerve cells actually perish. "

Because of the benefits, the medical societies recommend the examination in their guidelines, and the health insurance companies cover the costs. (eb)