Risk in adults having a scan

Risk in adults having a scan

Some scans involve injecting a dye (called contrast medium) before the scan to show up the body tissues more clearly. Some dyes containing iodine can occasionally cause acute kidney injury in some people, especially if they have other medical problems. If you are having a scan with a dye containing iodine, your healthcare professional should perform a blood test to check if you might have chronic kidney disease. Acute kidney injury after an injection of iodine is more likely if:

  • you have chronic kidney disease

  • you have diabetes and chronic kidney disease

  • you have heart failure

  • you have a kidney transplant

  • you are dehydrated

  • you are 75 or over.

It's also more likely if the dye is injected into an artery rather than a vein (for example, a coronary angiogram).

Discussing risk and preventing injury

Before you have a scan, your healthcare professional should talk to you about the risks and benefits, including the risks of having a dye containing iodine (iodinated contrast medium). If you're at risk of acute kidney injury or you have an acute illness, you should be offered fluids by a drip (either sodium bicarbonate or sodium chloride) before the scan. If you have chronic kidney disease, your healthcare professional may suggest you stop taking drugs for high blood pressure and heart conditions (ACE inhibitors and ARBs) before the scan.

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