Infants and CT Scans - what can I expect afterwards?
February 24, 2012 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Infants and CT Scans - what can I expect afterwards?

My son is 4 months old, and in a couple of months will need to have a CT scan done of his lung due to a cystic mass (CCAM) that was diagnosed during my prenatal 20 week ultrasound. He will have to be sedated for it.

I am definitely discussing what we can expect to see with his surgeon, but I'm wondering if anyone has any personal experience with did your baby handle the sedation? Anything we shoudl be prepared for?
posted by DrGirlfriend to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Best answer: We went through this on an emergency basis to rule out a skull fracture - everything was fine, thank goodness. We had to go via the ER, because the pediatric group in the hospital did not do this procedure on those days, which was not fun with an eight-month-old.

- See if you can get it scheduled as a pediatric procedure with pediatric nurses, equipment, etc. The ER didn't have the properly-sized blood-pressure cuffs, for example. And folks who don't deal with little kids day in/day out do not always have the appropriate bedside manner. They are NOT little adults. I would really push to have it done by people who are experienced with kids.
- Also probably a function of our ER visit, we wound up with a lot of downtime that was hard to kill with a cranky, hungry kid. Bring toys and books, and ideally something new he hasn't yet seen before.
- Also probably a function of the ER visit, they did the IV and then we had to wait two hours for the procedure. I didn't realize it or I would have pushed to have the IV done immediately beforehand - not fun to try to keep that thing in during two hours of cranky time.
- Realize he won't be able to eat for a certain number of hours beforehand. Try to optimize the scheduling with napping and plan to nurse/feed afterwards
- My little guy handled the sedation just fine - it was a nap and he came out of it quickly and easily. We nursed as soon as he woke up.
- Getting the IV in was the worst part. I opted to stay in the room, and it was hard to go through. I recited a favorite bedtime story in a calm and happy voice to try to help sooth him. Again, this is where pediatric-trained staff are critical.
- if there is any chance of needing anything else, like x-rays, see if they can be done during the already-planned sedation so you won't have to go through it again.
- wear comfortable clothes and bring snacks for yourself (if you feel you can eat while he can't - maybe step out in the hall). I had a hard time eating, but I felt I had to take care of myself to advocate for him.
- Try to have your spouse or friend along as well - if you need to use the bathroom someone else can take over, or for help distracting during long waiting periods. Doing it solo would make it extra hard.

Good luck! I hope it all turns out okay for you.
posted by handful of rain at 3:23 PM on February 24, 2012

Our 18 month old had a CT scan. She came out just fine, looked sort of stoned for a few minutes but that was it.

Side point - get really clear about how the baby will get the anesthesia. Ours got gas and not at all in the way it was explained to us. (my wife held the baby while a doctor came up with no warning and put the mask over her face until she went limp. My wife still gets upset about it.)
posted by shothotbot at 8:32 PM on February 24, 2012

I've only had experience with older kids, but when my almost one year old was put under sedation for minor surgery on his tear duct, he woke up CRANKY. For about half an hour he was whiny, grouchy and half asleep, and then was suddenly himself and just fine. He cried for juice, tried to hit the nurse who brought him the juice, and then happily ate lunch a little while later like nothing had ever happened. My nephew was exactly the same way when he was sedated for a CT Scan as a toddler. So, if he's really grouchy or crying when he comes out of the sedation, keep in mind that he might just not be all the way awake yet and he'll be okay soon.
posted by artychoke at 8:36 PM on February 24, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the replies! Good point about making sure the staff is familiar with working with kids...the CT isn't being done at the peds hospital so I'll make sure to ask the staff how they handle babies.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:11 PM on February 24, 2012

My son didn't have a CT, but he did have surgery around 8 months old. Beforehand, the not eating was the biggest problem, have a plan for distractions. We wandered the halls in a car they had for kids, and let him watch videos that we knew he really liked (he also didn't get to watch videos much so this was a bit treat). However, the hardest part was when they took him away to sedate him. It's pretty much someone taking away your baby to do something scary with him screaming for his mom. Try to prep yourself for that as much as possible. My son was the saddest thing ever when I saw him afterwards all attached to the machines, etc. Because he hadn't eaten we were all set to nurse him afterwards, but he had no interest. He just wanted to sleep some more and be held. Once we got him home, he perked up and was fine. In general, bring things that distract him, and then things to distract you, and take your cues from him when he wakes up, food if he wants it, or whatever.
posted by katers890 at 1:34 PM on February 25, 2012

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