A VCUG is an x-ray exam that allows us to visualize your childês bladder and ability to empty his/ her bladder. A catheter (a small, soft, flexible tube) will need to be placed into your childês bladder through the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder) and a special iodinated contrast liquid that shows up well on x-rays will be introduced through the catheter in order to fill the bladder. You will be able to stay with your child during the exam. Siblings will not be permitted in the exam room, please have someone accompany you to the hospital if siblings must come with you, so they may stay with them in the waiting room. If you are pregnant you will not be permitted in the exam room, please have someone accompany you to the hospital that is willing to stay with your child during the exam.
There is no special preparation for this exam, however we strongly recommend explaining this test and itês importance to children that are old enough to understand. This test is frequently used to rule out reflux of urine into the kidneys. Your pediatrician should explain this condition to you at the time when he/she tells you that this is a necessary exam to have done. If they do not, please contact your pediatrician prior to the exam so that he/she may explain this to you.
Your appointment will be scheduled ahead of time by the hospitalês booking office. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam, as you will be required to register and also visit our billing office. Please keep in mind that our hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center and emergencies often arise beyond our control. Occasionally this may delay the start of your exam. Another thing to be aware of is that we have many x-ray rooms in our department, and certain exams may only be performed in certain rooms. The order in which you arrive in our department may not necessarily be the order in which you are taken into an exam room due to room availability.
You and your child will be escorted into the exam room by a radiologic technologist. Your child will have to change into a hospital gown, and a plain x-ray film will be taken to ensure that the preparation for the exam was followed correctly. The radiologist will enter the room and take a brief history from you so that he/she will be able to perform an accurate study for your child. The first part of the test requires that your childês urethra (the opening that drains urine) be cleaned with an antiseptic solution prior to placing the catheter. Your child will feel uncomfortable when the catheter is placed into the bladder, however it should not be painful, it is rather more like a "pinching" or "pushing" feeling and this feeling is over very quickly.
A bottle of iodinated contrast is then attached to the catheter using an IV tubing, and allowed to flow into your childês bladder. As the bladder is filling, the radiologist will take x-ray pictures with a special camera called a fluoroscope, in order to see all the required anatomy to make an accurate diagnosis. You will need to follow the radiologistês instructions, so that you may help in positioning your child for these x-ray pictures. Once the bladder is full, the catheter will be removed and your child will need to urinate into a special bottle or onto a towel so that we may take x-ray pictures during this time. This test typically takes 10-15 minutes once the catheter is placed into the bladder. You can expect to be in the X-ray room for about 45 minutes. If you think you will not be able to handle seeing your child be catheterized, please inform us prior to beginning the exam.
Your child may eat and drink immediately following the exam. It is also very important to reinforce that they were well behaved and did a "good job". Please do not instill negative thoughts into your child as often occurs, such as "the mean people are done now, we can go" or the "mean doctor left the room and we donêt ever have to do that again". There may come a time when your child may have to visit our department again, and we want them to have a positive experience here. This test often requires a follow up test down the road if the results are positive for reflux.
The results of your childês exam will usually be sent to your pediatrician the same day. You may get the results from your pediatrician