What is a CT Scan?
A CT or CAT Scan stands for Computerised Tomography. It is a type of x-ray that produces detailed cross sectional pictures of your child.
CT scanning is similar to having a regular x-ray but the machine is larger and more complex. Your child will need to lie very still for the procedure.
To assist with this process your child may need to have sedation medicine (to make them sleepy) or a general anaesthetic.
The decision about which of these to use is made by your child’s anaesthetist. The scan usually takes a few minutes.
If your child is having sedation or general anaesthetic for their CT scan they will need to fast (go without food or drink) before the procedure. This is to improve the safety and decrease the risk of the anaesthetic. Please see the separate fasting instruction for details.
CT Scan using sedation
If your child is having sedation for their CT your anaesthetic doctor usually orders a medicine called Chloral Hydrate.
Chloral Hydrate is a bitter tasting medicine that is taken by mouth. It is important that the whole dose is taken and nurses will assist you with this.
It will then take between 10 minutes and 30 minutes for your child to become drowsy. Some children get upset before going off to sleep. Once your child is asleep a monitor will be attached to them. You and your child will then be escorted to the CT room. If your child is asleep you will be asked to wait outside while the scan takes place. Please note: sedation fails in up to one in five cases.
After the Scan
When the CT is finished and your child is awake they will be offered some food and drink. Breast or bottle fed babies can be fed as soon as they are awake. Once your child has had food and drink and is alert they will be discharged into your care.
Chloral Hydrate can have effects on your child for between four and eight hours and they should be watched during this time. Quiet inside play is recommended for the rest of the day. They can return to normal activity the following day.
To get the results of the scan you will need to have a follow up appointment with your doctor. If you are unsure about this appointment please let your nurse know.
CT Scan using general anaesthetic
If your child is having their scan under general anaesthetic one parent may usually stay with them until they are asleep (at your anaesthetist’s discretion). A drip may be inserted during the procedure.
After the Scan
When the CT is finished and your child is awake they will be offered some food and drink. Breast or bottle fed babies can be fed as soon as they are awake. Afterapproximately one hour and once your child has had food and drink and is alert they will be discharged intoyour care.
Quiet inside play is recommended for the rest of the day. They can return to normal activity the following day. It is not uncommon to vomit after a general anaesthetic, but if this persists you should seek medical attention.
To get the results of the scan you will need to have a follow up appointment with the doctor who requested the scan. If you are unsure about this appointment please let your nurse know.
To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your closest hospital that treats children.
If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.
Contact Mater Children’s Private Brisbane
South Brisbane QLD 4101
Telephone: 07 3163 8111
Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: HOSP-008-06199-10
Last modified 17/11/2015.