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What to expect at 1st Cat Scan

Katpet2u's picture
Katpet2u
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2017

Hi, I'm going for my 1st Cat Scan with contrast. I've had scans before for things other than my kidneys but never with contrast. I've got my vanilla flavored contrast beverage chilling in the fridge for tomorrow's scan. Any advice as how to get it all down? I'm worried I won't be able to finish it all. Anyone have any problems with it bothering them (upset stomach, etc)? I've been told by a relative who's a nurse to drink plenty of water afterwards.

Kat23502's picture
Kat23502
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 2016

I'm a little confused as to why you are drinking contrast for a kidney CT? Normally oral contrast is reserved for viewing the bowel. Kidney scans usually require IV contrast. 

mrou50
Posts: 389
Joined: Mar 2013

I drink contrast for my scans because I have only one kidney, somtimes I have to both drink and do the IV contrast the doctors have to check my kidney numbers and if they are good they give me the IV otherwise I just do the oral.

Mark

Kat23502's picture
Kat23502
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 2016

Hey Mark! That makes sense to do both if your physicians are being extra cautious about screening for bowel/stomach pathology. Oral CT contrast isn't absorbed in any way by the kidneys or other organs. The way it does its job is by distending the bowel and GI tract and outlining any possible, what we call filling defects, along the GI tract. It's not a bad thing to use but it looks at GI tract only. 

Katpet2u's picture
Katpet2u
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2017

 

All I know is I'm having an abdominal cat scan because of a complex renal cyst. They are aware of the reason for the scan and the instructions are to drink contrast liquid prior to scan. It is possible I am also going to receive in contrast as well. I just read the most common type of CT with contrast is the double contrast study. This may be what I'm having. Sounds like double the fun! 

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 3242
Joined: Jan 2010

Katpet2u,

 

Hopefully the scan will show nothing remarable or as we like to say NED.

 

Icemantoo

 

Kat23502's picture
Kat23502
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 2016

Well, you shouldn't have any problem getting it down, my patients don't usually. Just be sure to drink a ton of water when you are all done with the CT. 

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1425
Joined: Dec 2012

I always have to drink something, but I think that's for the GI tract. What I drink is clear but they give me crystal light to add to it. Tastes like lemonade. For the kidney, they usually inject contrast. Before the scan, the put in an IV. When you're getting ready to go into the machine, they usually do one scan without contrast then inject the contrast and do another scan.

This is my memory of it. I haven't had the IV contrast in 4 years because my kidney function hasn't been good enough since my kidney was removed.

Before my surgery, I had another type of scan done that was like a movie. They had me drink a lot of water. I think they injected the IV contrast while I was in the machine. It was a study to see how much of the work each kidney was doing. My left kidney was smaller than my right. They were worried that the smaller one that was going to be left wouldn't be able to do the work so that's why they did this study. I don't remember what they called this other test. I don't think it's very common. I never heard anybody else on here talk about this one.

Do drink a lot of water like Kat said. You want to clear that out of your system.

I seem to remember there was a weird sensation when they injected it. I can't remember if it was hot or cold. I want to say hot. It wasn't bad though.

CT machines aren't as scary as MRI machines. Just like a big donut. Not at all claustrophobic for me.

You'll do great.

Todd

Kat23502's picture
Kat23502
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 2016

You are correct Todd, it's usually a warming sensation and sometimes a metallic taste after the we inject the contrast. 

 

You are also also correct that oral contrast is given for bowel opacification. It's not standard on my renal scans. However, since it isn't eliminated through the kidneys, some doctors still use it for renal scans just to get a look at bowel as well. This practice, as our CT cameras have gotten better and better has started being done less and less. It isn't harmful so some doctors do it because why not get a good look?

 

The study you describe sounds a lot like a nuclear medicine study. This study essentially watches the kidneys filter and excrete. 

dhs1963's picture
dhs1963
Posts: 510
Joined: May 2012

The IV contrast seems to make my anus burn.  I laugh about it, though.  They give me something to drink.  I was wondering if the trink is to help flush the kidneys?  I also hydrate / drink a lot of liquid to help my kidney.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

a liter of contrast to drink an hour before ct scans. I chug it like Octoberfest. I add no flavor. Always get iv contrast also. Reduced amount. As to the feeling, I told the tech it feels like sitting naked on hot aluminum bleacher scorching my scrotum. Hey, nothing is sacred anymore.

Kat23502's picture
Kat23502
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 2016

We tell people they will feel like they are peeing on themselves.

 

JerzyGrrl's picture
JerzyGrrl
Posts: 760
Joined: Jun 2016

Next time I have to drink contrast before a scan, I'm going to request that particular cocktail and guzzle it, "like (a) Fox." 

Not sure if it was the flavoring and/or the two kinds of artificial sweetener (which I'm sensitive to), but I ended up with one heck of a killer headache last time. If I'd missed the door on the way out and walked right into the wall, it probably wouldn't have hurt any worse. 

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

like using power of suggestion? I can guess how often that happens Kat.

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

Pour it on ice and drink it in 15 minutes. No probs. Absolutely nothing to worry about

hardo718's picture
hardo718
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

Sometimes the IV and sometimes the lovely drink followed by the IV.  Not crazy about the sensation of peeing on myself but it goes away almost as quickly as it comes on.  And the metallic taste is something else too....yuck!  And they always tell me to drink LOTS of water for the next day or two.

Donna~

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

I've never felt like I'm peeing myself or scorching my scrotum. Am I missing out on something?

I just feel like I'm enjoying my own personal summer. Rather pleasant.

corey50
Posts: 111
Joined: Feb 2009

Listen to Kat23502 she's exactly right on why we drink the contrast before a kidney CT, it's only to outline the bowel.  Usually when I've had it done I'd drink one bottle at home and sip on a bottle in the car and then sometimes the tech would even give me a cup to drink right before the test. Not to be indelicate but this stuff goes right thru you so don't drink it earlier then the instructions say because it won't be in your system, that's why they would give me a drink right before the test. You're going to have to use a bathroom right after the test. The stuff is disgusting no way around it, but keeping it cold helps. DO NOT DRINK ANY WATER ONCE YOU'VE STARTED THE CONTRAST DRINK, but drink plenty after the test.

The IV contrast always makes me feel all warm on the inside and it does feel like you've peed yourself, but don't worry you won't LOL. That sensation lasts for only a few seconds. I have one kidney so I'll get an IV saline flush after that too.

Good luck on your test. 

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