What is the role of SPECT scanning in the workup of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Chiron et al found that the normal asymmetry of regional cerebral blood flow (ie, higher in the left hemisphere in right-handed individuals) was lacking in some people with autism. Tests of regional cerebral blood flow with xenon-133 (133 Xe) revealed left-hemispheric dysfunction, especially in the cortical areas devoted to language and handedness. [142]

Regional cerebral blood flow assessed with technetium-99m (99m Tc) labeled to hexamethylpropyleneamine oxide (HMPAO), a lipophilic substance, in children with autistic disorder demonstrates variable anomalies, including reductions in the vermis, the cerebellar hemispheres, the thalami, the basal ganglia, and the parietal and temporal lobes. These findings suggest that no single abnormality characterizes all individuals with autistic disorder. Biologic classes may have specific types of regional cerebral blood flow dysfunction.

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