CT scan prep- any advice?

I've booked a CT scan for tomorrow at 2:30 ive had to book privately in the end as my local imaging department has all but collapsed under the current strain on NHS. My GP referred me for a CT scan last November due to chronic abdominal pain. Imaging department kept me waiting 2 months to then tell me they wouldn't be scheduling me an appointment as I don't meet the criteria for urgent priority treatment under the current crisis measures due to my age (I'm 30), despite me being completely housebound with the pain at the moment.

Anyway, back to what I'mean here for...

The clinic I'm going to have posted me a bottle of the contrast dye that I need to drink before my scan. The handwritten instructions with it say to drink it today at 2:30- 24 hours before my scan. Does this sound right? I thought the contrast drink was to be taken an hour or so before?

It also says on the leaflet that it should only be taken in hospital or clinic, where allergic reactions to it can be treated. Is it fine to drink at home? The solution is Gastromiro, and it's only 20ml. The scan is for my abdomen and pelvis.

Also, anything I eat or drink at the moment causes me discomfort, nausea, often diarrhoea. Is the contrast solution likely to make me particularly bad? It's quite a drive to the clinic tomorrow and I do t fancy it of I'm really ill. I will be anyway, from felling so nervous but I do t know ow what to expect and it's making it worse 😔

Thanks for any help/advice. I'm so I'll at the moment, I honestly feel like no good news can come from this.

10 Replies

  • Sorry for the appalling spelling. I've typed this on my phone with clumsy fingers and, admittedly, through the odd tear or two...I'm feeling stupidly sorry for myself today! X

  • Hiya that to me doesn't sound right. I am allergic to contrast dye and only found out due to being in hospital and if your allergic it comes on quickly. Is there a number on your letter to call? If you can't get hold of anyone today just call first thing in the morning but I wouldn't take until I was on hospital grounds x

  • Hello, I had this last month, day before scan I had to take a bit of it (you dilute it) in the unit under observation. I

    Went home after half an hour with instructions of when to take the rest diluted at various times through the day and go back. Next day for ct

    I'm very susceptible to anything especially as I'd not long had 3 rounds of prep! They said maybe mild laxative ! I couldn't have left the house!

    It just about stopped for me to drive next day and I wore tenna pants in case!

    I would

    Ring as your instruction sounds wrong

    Good luck

  • Thanks for your replies so far. Rang the hospital first thing this morning, as the imaging unit was closed yesterday. I've been told my appointment now has to be rescheduled for 10:30 Wednesday instead, as they are adamant I am to take the gastromiro, undiluted, 24 hours before my appointment.

    This is making me so anxious as it now mean I have to make the hour-long journey to the hospital during rush hour traffic as I have to be there an hour before to take more contrast dye.

    If I'm ill from the contrast solution, then I obviously have to then make the same journey home afterwards. I'm absolutely dreading it. I've also been told I will not be able to continue breast-feeding for a few days after taking the gastromiro, so all of this will also need to be done with my agitated and unhappy baby in the car with me, as he doesn't like feeding from a bottle.

    I know I must sound like I'm just moaning...which in reality, I know I am.I just feel so down at the moment. I haven't left the house in weeks due to the pain that has prompted this CT scan. Now I have to deal with extremely anxious circumstances which make everything so much worse. I'm sorry to rant. It's hard when you don't have anyone to understand, and sometimes it feels like this forum is the only place where people do. I'm scared, and I'm so very tired of being ill. What I wouldn't give for a normal life with my beautiful family.

  • I had a CT scan a few weeks ago, I was actually sent the contrast dye through the post from the nhs hospital which I was surprised at, had to take it twice the day before and then twice on the actual day an hour before and half an hour before, had to take the last two on the bus journey to the hospital. I had no problems at all, I may one of the lucky ones.

    Take care and try not to worry too much i'm sure everything will be ok, just think to yourself that this will give some answers to your problem and look forward to feeling better

  • Mine was called Gastrografin - same thing I think. I had to start taking mine the day before and I couldn't have left the bathroom. i took some knitting in there! The whole thing was not as bad as I had imagined - good luck.

  • binks if you don't mind me asking-how did you deal with the journey to and from hospital if it upset your tummy to that extent? And during the procedure itself?

    Thankyou for your response

  • From what I remember (this was 18 months ago), I had to eat only certain things 48 hours beforehand, then only jelly or water 24 hours before, then only water/black coffee/tea the morning of the scan. The Gastrografin cleared me out the day before the procedure - I started one dose at 7am, then at 12pm, then at 5pm as per instructions. By the time I went to bed I had stopped needing the loo - there was nothing left! So my scan was at 2pm and my husband drove me because I felt weak and a bit spaced out (lack of food). But - I didn't need the toilet at all on that day. They injected some dye as I was on the scanner bed - which is a strange sensation as though you have wet yourself (but you haven't). That only lasts seconds, and then it's fine. A tube up the bum to inflate you a bit so that they can see better on the scan - which does not hurt at all, and then you go through the scanner breathing in and out when they tell you to. All over in about 15 minutes from what I recall. And no one could have been as scared as I was. Trust me, I am an expert at panic and I had put off a scan for 20 years because I dreaded it so much. You will be fine!!

  • Thanks so much for your advice. I'm one of those people that deals better with things when I have as much info as possible, so your response is very helpful.

    I'm dealing at the moment with a huge amount of newfound anxiety since I've been this poorly. This level of worry has come like a bolt from the blue for someone who has always been notably laid-back, so I'm struggling with learning how to deal with it. I had no idea it was possible to go from calm to absolute panic over a routine procedure, but hey- it turns out there's a lot of things I didn't realise about myself! Hoping this procedure brings me some much-needed answers about what exactly is making me so ill.

    I really appreciate your taking the time to give me some extra info and tell me about your experience. Whilst I wouldn't wish this kind of illness on anyone, sometimes it's reassuring and a little less isolating to hear that someone else is in the same boat x

  • If I hadn't had my husband in the waiting room with me, I would have gone home and skipped the whole thing regardless of the prep I had done. I was beyond anxious - he wouldn't let me leave. I put off going to the medics because the anxiety it causes me makes me feel truly ill and I will do anything to avoid that. When ibs is so bad, it's bound to make us wonder what we've got but whatever it is, you are one step further to having a plan. The staff who do the procedure are lovely - they know how much people dread it, and how not dignified it all is, and they will make you feel better I'm sure.

    It's hard if you're feeding your baby and I'm sure that's heaping more anxiety on you - but he will be fine. Hang in there and let us know how you get on.xx

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