How you prepare for your child’s CT scan will depend on which part of their body needs to be scanned.
Your child may need to have a special X-ray dye, called intravenous (IV) contrast, injected before their CT scan. This helps to highlight the blood vessels in the body. The IV contrast is a clear fluid given through a cannula, which is inserted into a vein, usually in the arm. This is a little bit like having a blood test. Before having the cannula, a numbing cream or cool sense may be applied to help numb the area.
Your child will get a warm flush or metallic taste in their mouth shortly after the IV contrast is injected. These are normal symptoms of contrast injection, but can be startling when it is not expected. Explaining to your child that this is going to happen before their scan can help them remain calm.
If your child is having an abdominal scan, they may be a need to drink oral contrast dye 90 minutes before they have their scan. The oral contrast dye highlights the bowel and allows your child’s radiologist to differentiate between the different organs in the abdomen. This oral contrast dye may be mixed with your child’s favourite drink, so it’s a good idea to bring some with you on the day of their scan.
Before you come to the hospital, a nurse will call to confirm your child’s appointment and will let you know what type of preparation you need to do for your child’s CT scan.