CT kids: what age is it, how harmful?


Computed tomography is today considered one of the most informative methods of examination. This study allows us to diagnose many diseases at an early stage of development in newborns, toddlers and older children. Is it harmful? It is important to consider all the nuances in the appointment of a small child CT – x-ray radiation used in the examination, has a detrimental effect on a young body. It is known that in childhood the body’s sensitivity to radiation is 5 times higher than in adults, therefore, the appointment of CT scan must be clear evidence.

The specificity of computed tomography in children

The procedure of examination of young children is different from the scan of an adult. Kid in the year has a special movement, and a newborn baby, and even impossible to explain that it is necessary to lie still for a long time, so in most cases, scanning done under anesthesia.

Experts say that CT can do the newborn even in the presence of absolute indications for exploration and spuriousness other methods of examination. In the first year of life to explore the brain of a child can be with the help of ultrasound of neurosonography. Due to the open Fontanelle ultrasound waves allow us to examine the broad structure of the brain. After the closure of the fontanel for study used CT. It is important to understand that children computed tomography in most cases is to detect injuries and tumors, the benefits of early diagnosis are much higher than the harm from radiation. A significant difference in the CT of newborns, toddlers or children three to five years there.

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In some cases, the doctor prescribes a CT scan?

In most cases, a computer tomography doing young children for the diagnosis of brain diseases:

  • In the neonatal period CT of the brain is doing to diagnose, birth injury, e.g. depressed skull fractures or fractures at the seams of the cranial bones. In addition, using computer diagnostics to identify intracranial hemorrhage.
  • The older children, after 1.5 years, the purpose of CT is most often associated with head injuries received while negligence and the negligence of parents. Through imaging we can diagnose traumatic brain injuries, hematomas, fractures of the vault and skull base – namely the computer tomography is the most informative method in the diagnosis of lesions of bone.
  • Diagnosis of increased intracranial pressure.
  • Identification of vascular anomalies, aneurysms, tumors and cysts of the brain.
  • The first signs of a mental disorder requires CT of the brain.

In addition, brain scan, computed tomography is assigned for the diagnosis of:

  • Congenital malformations of the respiratory system – CT is considered the method of choice due to better visualization of the organs filled with air.
  • Tumor diseases.
  • Lesions of the musculoskeletal system.

To assess the state of organs of abdominal cavity in children in most cases is safer MRI, CT is appointed only at presence of contraindications to magnetic resonance examination.

How to prepare the child to the exam?

For crisp images in computer tomography, it is important to observe the basic requirement is that the immobility during the procedure. Children up to the age of 5-6 years in most cases, cannot meet this requirement because of age and done under General anesthesia, and the preparation is reduced to the preparation for General anesthesia:

  • The last meal should be 4 hours before the study – a full stomach increases the possibility of aspiration of vomit. A newborn baby can feed 3 hours before the procedure. The same applies to drink – drink before the computed tomography is unacceptable.
  • Older children need to psychologically prepare for being in a confined space – it is important to explain the need for procedures to clarify that it doesn’t hurt and mom will be waiting in the next room.
  • Should ensure a good nasal breathing, this can drip into the baby’s nose vasoconstrictor drops.
  • Before the test you need to know about the list of required tests – in each of the cynic this list varies, one will require only a certificate from a pediatrician, in other ECG data, and additional methods.
  • In that case, if you plan to use a contrast agent, it is recommended to allergodil. This applies especially to allergic children.
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Features of CT procedures in children

CT scan of a small child differs from the adult survey the introduction of anesthesia immediately before the procedure. Most often, the anesthesiologist makes an easy inhalation anesthesia, which does not require connection to a ventilator (artificial lung ventilation) and provides a quick awakening.

A newborn baby is recommended to swaddle. Children over years the mother should wear comfortable clothes and worry about that baby not frozen – it is possible to take a light blanket. The child lay down on the couch and fixed in the desired position, depending on field of study. It is important to calculate the dosage of radiation and to accurately set the stroke of the x-ray tube to avoid unnecessary areas of the scan. After fixation, the child enters into a state of narcosis. Children 6-7 years the introduction of drugs for anaesthesia is not required.

Couch drives into the tunnel of scanner, where the scan. Anesthetist and specialist are closely watching the state of the baby. After stopping the operation of the apparatus stops supply of the anesthesia and the baby wakes up.

Need some time to analyze the results. All this time the child will be under the supervision of a specialist until the end of General anesthesia. Conclusion the results of the survey are issued to parents at hand, it is possible to re-contact the doctor who ordered a CT scan.

CT scan is a harmless procedure and, of course, carries a negative radial strain on the body of the child. But to abandon the procedure should no – time undiagnosed illness will cause much more harm to the baby, so it’s important to make the necessary examination.