An ultrafast computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to look at your child’s heart. The scan takes pictures very quickly. It gives the healthcare provider many details about your child’s heart that other imaging tests can’t.
Standard X-rays use a small amount of radiation to create images of bones and organs. These X-rays are useful to help diagnose illness. But many details about internal organs and other structures can’t be seen.
With a CT scan, the X-rays move around the body. This gives many views of the same organ or structure in much greater detail. The X-ray information is sent to a computer. The computer makes a 2-D image that your healthcare provider can look at. IV contrast dye may also be used to make details show up better in the scan.
An ultrafast CT scan shows the healthcare provider even more details about the heart’s structure and how well it is working. It also can be done in much less time than a regular CT scan.
A child may need an ultrafast CT scan to check for:
Your child’s healthcare provider may have other reasons to order an ultrafast CT scan.
You can help your child by preparing him or her in advance. How you do this depends on your child’s age and needs. Many hospitals have people trained in helping children cope with their medical care or hospital experience. These people are often called child life specialists. Check with your child’s healthcare provider to see if child life programs or other similar services are available for your child.
Here are things you can do to help your child prepare:
Also make sure to:
And tell your child’s healthcare provider if your child:
The test takes about 30 to 60 minutes. Some may take longer. You may be able to stay with your child in the CT room. Or you may be asked to wait in another area during the test.
A CT scan is done by a radiology technologist. A radiologist is on call in case of problems. This is a doctor trained to use CT or other imaging methods to test or treat patients.
During the test:
Once the test is finished, the table will slide out of the scanner. A child who received medicine to relax or sleep will be watched until the medicine wears off and he or she is awake again. If an IV was inserted, it will be taken out after the test is over and your child is awake.
If no sedation was used, your child can go back to normal activities and diet right away, unless the healthcare provider says otherwise. Contrast dye should pass through your child’s body in about 24 hours. Your child may need to drink more water during this time.
If your child had sedation, he or she may feel sleepy for a while. This should go away in a few hours or a day.
Your child’s healthcare provider will talk with you about the results of the CT scan, and let you know if other tests are needed.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure for your child make sure you know: