What is informed consent?
Informed consent is the free, voluntary and conscious consent of a patient, manifested in the full use of his powers after receiving the appropriate information, so that an action takes place that affects his health, in this case a technique or exploration. diagnostic imaging. Not all diagnostic imaging techniques or scans require informed consent, depending on their complexity and whether they are highly invasive. Your doctor will tell you in which cases it is necessary to formalize it and will provide it to you before they perform the diagnostic technique or scan on the image.
What is a contrast?
A contrast is a pharmacological substance that is administered to perform some diagnostic imaging tests. It is usually used to better study some part of the body, to complete the study or imaging test they do, or to help clarify the diagnosis of the radiologist. The use of contrast does not necessarily indicate more seriousness or a worse prognosis in the result of the technique to be performed. In some cases, the decision to administer contrast is made during the test according to the criteria of the radiology specialist. Your doctor will tell you what to look for before, during, and after you are given a contrast. In some cases you will be asked to sign an informed consent form.
How is contrast managed?
Radiological contrasts can be administered by different routes depending on each case. Usually the most commonly used are the oral, rectal or intravenous route. They can also be administered locally at a specific point in the body. Your doctor will tell you, in each case and in each test, how they will administer it to you.
What dangers does contrast pose?
As with any pharmacological substance administered in the body, and in the same way as with medications or some foods in people who are allergic to it, contrast can have adverse interactions or effects. These reactions are usually mild and, in most cases, pose no danger. In the health centers where they are used they are prepared for this eventuality. In the case of known allergies, you must report them to your doctor, who will tell you the most appropriate examination for your case or prescribe a treatment so that you can carry it out. You must also tell the medical, nursing or technical staff who will be testing you.
How do I remove the contrast I was given to take the test?
The contrast is removed physiologically depending on the route of administration. In the case of the oral route, it is eliminated by the digestive tract; in the case of the intravenous one it is eliminated by renal route, through urine. It is advisable to take liquids such as water or juices after the scan, especially if barium sulphate has been used, to facilitate their natural elimination.
Can computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) be used simultaneously for the same diagnosis?
CT and MRI can be used simultaneously for the same diagnosis, although only one of the two diagnostic techniques is usually used. In some cases, it may be necessary to do both to arrive at the diagnosis or to make it concrete. The use of both techniques does not necessarily indicate a more serious or worse prognosis in the results.
Which diagnostic technique is best for me to know what is happening to me: computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging?
There is no one technique better than another in general terms to know what is happening to you. The use of one test or diagnostic technique or another depends in each case on what you want to study (the anatomical part, the type of tissue, etc.). The criteria for making one technique or another are based on scientific evidence and the appropriate indications in each case. The doctor requesting the examination can choose the technique based on this and can consult the radiologist, if necessary, the one that is most appropriate for your specific case.
Can everyone get a CT scan or an MRI?
In some cases, you will not be able to take the test. It depends on your background and the characteristics of the test and the device where they are to be performed. In any case, you can always look for diagnostic alternatives to find out what is happening to you. You should always tell your medical, nursing or technical staff if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, suffer from claustrophobia, have a contrast allergy, have severe kidney failure or have a liver transplant. You also need to report if you are taking any medication on an ongoing basis.
Can I do multiple scans on the same day?
It depends on the type of test. There are contrasting explorations that can create artifacts; in tests in which barium sulphate is used, it is advisable to leave a period of time between these. In any other case you have any questions, you can consult your doctor.
Does anyone have to come with me?
In most tests it is not necessary. Only if the scan requires sedation or the administration of a contrast, or if there is a possibility that the diagnostic imaging test may be accompanied by some other intervention, is it recommended that someone accompany you.
Is there a risk?
None of the diagnostic imaging tests pose any risks. The doctor will prescribe them when strictly necessary as, in some cases, technologies are used that cannot be abused either.
What if I don’t feel well during the test?
During all the tests you will be watched by the people who perform the test, who will be aware of your reactions and what you say.
What information should I give the doctor when I am prescribed a test?
If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, you should always tell your doctor, who will assess whether or not you can be tested. And, if you suffer from any illness, you must also inform them. Most of the time it will not interfere with the performance of the test, but it is always better for the professional to be informed. If you are taking any type of medication, it is also best to tell them.