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Is this normal??

Cinnamongirl's picture
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2018

So I have my first set of scans coming up next week and besides my anxiety being through the roof... I have noticed that my Dr has ordered a CT SCAN of my abdomen and pelvis with barium not IV  contrast and a chest xray  not CT?? He has ordered bloodwork before probably to check function of kidney...just wondering if this sounds normal..

Thanks in advance




JerzyGrrl's picture
Posts: 761
Joined: Jun 2016

Hi, Cin --

I guess I would ask, "Normal compared to what?" The majority of CTs of the abdomen and pelvis are done with barium, because they're generally looking for stuff in the digestive tract. Granted, that's not what WE are primarily following up on, post-neph. That you aren't getting the contrast seems a little odd, although it's not unheard of.

I'd call the physician and double check. There's a possibility that the doc used a standard form that called for barium, or dictated the order and implied "the usual" and someone who transcribed the order made an assumption. Ask what the physician is looking for and how the barium is going to help them see that. Personally, I'm kind of a hold-out for contrast, but even my physician's attitude is sort of "Meh" about the contrast on the half-year CTs but has the annual CTs with contrast. Who knows.

Plus, I've been told by the imaging folks that I definitely WILL get there an hour ahead of time and drink a "milkshake." Why? Because EVERYONE who has a CT of the abdomen and pelvis drinks the milkshake. Well. For starters, if I was going to drink a milkshake, it would be a real one and not one of their barium delights. Secondly, and mainly, I'm quite sensitive to some of the extras added to it to attempt to make it taste "yummy." As in, it makes me ill. BUT they say, EVERYONE who has a CT of the abdomen and pelvis drinks the milkshake. Sigh. Getting this all straightened out seems to add another 10 days to my getting my CT scheduled, but I know that's not what you've written about.

But definitely -- call and ASK. You'll be glad you did Smile .

AnnissaP's picture
Posts: 632
Joined: Sep 2017

Barium delights ahahahahaha

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3354
Joined: Jan 2010



---with the size of your tumor I would ask for a chest CT rather than the xray. It is more powerful and on the downside may pick up some harmless lunar material.



MelBlessed's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: Aug 2017

As a GI nurse, I would definitely want the IV contrast! And as Ice said the CT chest also. Best wishes for good results!

Cinnamongirl's picture
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2018

So I called the imaging center. I am scheduled for IV contrast pending bloodwork results on my kidney but CT SCANS of pelvis and abdomen only if I'm already gonna be in the machine and have contrast on board why not schedule for the chest as well??

Also I have to drink that barium stuff and have a mammogram all that day!

Boy it's gonna be a day!


todd121's picture
Posts: 1449
Joined: Dec 2012

Before my kidney was out, I had chest/abdomen/pelvis with injected contrast. I drank some clear water-like fluid, I forget what it's called, but it's just water that tastes like it's been left in the bottle too long.

After my kidney was out, no more injected contrast because my creatinine has been too high each time (over 1.5), although they try each time (do a blood test to check the creatinine and if it's below 1.5 they will give me the contrast injection). All of my followup CTs with the 3 specialists I've seen (all are medical oncologists specializing in RCC) have been chest/abdomen/pelvis. I've never had barium, never drank a "milkshake", but I do drink that nasty water each time. I think it's water with some kind of radioactive isotope. They give me some flavoring to mix in with it, which makes it palatable.

That's what's been normal for me.

When you say barium, are you drinking it or are they "injecting" it? Way in the past when I had some colon issues I had x-rays with barium "injected". Not much fun.

I'd want a chest CT myself. I understand and have heard that by the time stuff shows up on x-rays, it's a little large. They can track growth and catch it earlier with a chest CT if it is something.

Best to you,


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