Abdominal, pelvic, or chest computed tomography for children

What is the test for?

Computed Tomography (CT scan) is a test that takes x-ray pictures of your child's body in slices and puts them onto a computer screen. Some tests need IV dye and oral or rectal contrast to make better pictures. 

Your appointment

Please make sure to read your appointment letter for where you should go should your study. If you have any questions please contact Radiology Scheduling at 1-319-356-3444

If your child is not able to do the prep listed, the test may need to be delayed or canceled.

Preparing for the procedure

Before the CT, please tell your doctor or nurse if your child:

  • Has diabetes
  • Is allergic to contrast dye or iodine (discuss this with your child's doctor before the day of the procedure. They may be instructed to take medicine the night before and the morning of the procedure.)


If your child has diabetes, a kidney problem, or severe medical problems, blood tests may be taken before the test and can take up to one hour of extra wait time.


If your child is to receive sedating medicine for the test:

  • Your child may have regular food up to eight hours before the report time for the procedure.
  • Your child may have formula or any nonhuman milk up to six hours before the report time for the procedure.
  • Your child may have breast milk for up to four hours before the report time for the procedure.
  • Your child may have clear liquids (apple juice, water, Pedialyte) up to two hours before the report time for the procedure.

DO NOT drink anything for one hour before your report time.

DO NOT drink carbonated drinks four hours before your report time.

If you have questions about the sedation please call 1-319-384-9099.

If your child is not receiving sedation medicine for the test DO NOT let them eat food for four hours before the report time.

What to expect

Allow two to three hours for this test and the recovery time for the sedative.

An IV may be placed in your child's arm for the dye, and they may need to drink Kool-Aid with contrast. An enema may also need to be given, depending on their test. 

After the procedure

If your child receives medicine to relax them for the test they must be supervised by an adult for 24 hours after the test. They may also spend some extra time in our areas before being sent home. It may be helpful to shorten your child's sleep the night before the test.


Take regular prescription medicine as usual, with sips of water, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. If you child takes Metformin, Fortamet, Glucovance Avandamet, Metaglip, Glumetza, Riomet, Actoplus Met, Prandimet, Kombiglyze, Janumet, Appformin for diabetes, they should not take it for 48 hours after the test. Talk with your doctor about how to manage their diabetes during this time.

Last reviewed: 
October 2018

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