What you and your child can expect
When your child is scheduled for a radiology test, both you and your child may have questions about it. We encourage parents to read this information, then talk about the test with your child.
What is a renogram?
This test helps determine how the kidneys are working. The kidneys produce urine, which is then drained through the ureters into the bladder. The test uses nuclear medicine equipment.
How is the test performed?
A technologist will take you and your child into an exam room. In the room, you will see a large table and a camera that is connected to a screen and computer. Your child will put on a hospital gown.
For a lasix renogram, the technologist or nurse will put an intravenous (IV) tube into your child's arm. This will sting for a few seconds, but won't hurt after it is in. Your child's arm will be taped to a small padded board so his arm remains still during the test. A catheter is placed in the bladder for a lasix renogram. The size of the catheter is small enough to fit inside a juice box straw.
A radioisotope liquid will be injected through the IV into your child's arm and will then travel to the kidneys. A small quantity of the radioiosotope liquid is used, and your child will not experience any side effects from the liquid.
Once inside the body, the radioisotope gives off gamma rays (invisible radiation), which are detected by the camera and show up on film.
It usually takes about 1 hour for the radioisotope to go through the kidneys. As it does, your child will be able to watch her kidneys on the television screen. It is very important that your child remains still during the test, so the pictures will be clear.
Sometimes, an additional drug is injected through the IV tubing. This injection will not be uncomfortable, since the IV is already in your child's arm.
After the radiologist checks the film to make sure it is complete, the IV and catheter will be taken out, and you and your child may leave. The radiologist will send a report of the exam to your child's doctor.
How do I tell my child about this test?
Because you know your child best, explain this test to your child in a way that he will understand before you come to Children's. The staff also will explain the procedure to you and your child before and during the test.
Will it hurt?
For many children, the most important thing to know is whether or not this test will hurt. Assure your child that although there may be some discomfort, it will only last a few minutes. Remind your child that this test is being done to help the doctor find out how her body is working inside. By talking about the test with your child, you may help her be more comfortable during the test, which will make the procedure easier for your child and you.
Does my child have to do anything different before the test?
Usually you can maintain your child's routine eating, sleeping, and medicine schedules before the test. Your doctor or a nuclear medicine technologist will tell you if your child needs any special preparation.
The test itself will take 1 to 2 hours. If your child is scheduled for a glucoheptonate or DMSA renogram, it will take about 2½ hours to complete (including an hour break). No bladder catheter is used for a DMSA renogram.
Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
What can my child expect after the test?
The IV site may be sore or bruised slightly. If a catheter was used, your child may be a little sore the next few times he urinates. Assure him that the discomfort will go away, and encourage him to drink plenty of fluids. Sometimes a warm bath (plain water, no bubbles) can provide comfort. Your child can resume normal diet and activity.
General radiology requirements
- Pregnant mothers: Women who are pregnant can't be in the exam room. They must have a family member or friend over the age of 18 accompany their child into the examination room during the exam (with the exception of the ultrasound and nuclear medicine rooms).
- Family or friends under the age of 18 years old: If you are not the patient and under the age of 18 years old you will not be allowed to remain in the radiology exam room during the exam.
- Siblings: Siblings are not allowed in the radiology room while the exam is being performed (with the exception of the ultrasound rooms). Please make arrangements to have an adult accompany them in the waiting room.
- Attire: Children wearing clothing with snaps or buttons will need to change into hospital attire. Any item such as jewelry, undergarments with metal, or EKG patches in affected area will be removed prior to the exam.