Preparing Your Child for An Imaging Exam

You will be given specific information about exam preparation from your physician or the schedulers when you make your child's radiology appointment. The information below is meant to provide guidelines for exam preparation, but always call your doctor if you have questions.

Some exams require that your child fast before the exam or procedure. This is known as NPO (an acronym of the Latin, "nothing by mouth"). NPO means no fluids (including water) or food are allowed for a specified number of hours before the exam. Your physician will provide you with appropriate NPO guidelines for your child's test.

Guidelines for different types of exams

  • Fluoroscopy

    • Esophagram, upper GI and small bowel – follow NPO guidelines from your physician. Bring a drink that your child enjoys to the exam. Your child may be asked to drink this during or after the exam.
    • Tube injection or tube placement – if your child is fed intermittently or by bolus, skip one meal. If your child gets continuous feeds, discontinue nourishment for two to three hours.
    • Contract enema and VCUG – no prep is usually required. Review My Child is Having a VCUG
    • IVP – no prep is usually required

  • Ultrasound

    • Abdominal ultrasound and vascular ultrasound of the abdomen/pelvis – follow NPO guidelines from your physician
    • Renal/bladder and pelvic ultrasound – bring your child to the exam with as full a bladder as possible
    • Vascular, hip, spine, musculoskeletal, head, scrotal and thyroid – no prep is usually required

  • CT, MRI and nuclear medicine

    For an MRI or CT scan, review these helpful guides for exam preparation:
    • My Child is Having a CT Scan
    • My Child is Having an MRI
    • Any CT exam with contrast – follow NPO guidelines from your physician
    • Gastric emptying/milk scan – follow NPO guidelines from your physician
    • All other CT, MRI and nuclear medicine exams – specific preparations will be given when you schedule your child's appointment

Exam results

Results from your tests at Inova Children's Hospital will be sent to your child's physician within 48 hours of the exam. An exam disk is available at the time of the exam or by calling 703-776-3240.