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About contrast agents

Contrast agents

What’s a contrast agent?

Contrast materials are chemicals used in diagnostic imaging (x-rays, ultrasound, CT, MRI etc.) They help to provide an enhanced picture of the body part in question.

There are different contrast materials and they can be swallowed, drunk as fluid or injected into the veins.

When is a contrast agent used?

It’s always up to your doctor to decide which diagnostic tool to use for your symptoms. A scan with contrast agent is not always necessary, so this demands individual evaluation.

In general one can say that for examining soft tissue, veins or intestines contrast materials are usually needed. When the contrast dye is injected into the veins, it lights up on the screen of the scanner, making it easier to detect any abnormality.

Why do you need bloodwork before undergoing MRI or CT scans?

Your doctor always searches for the easiest, most efficient yet the least unpleasant method to diagnose you.

To make sure your health is good enough to undergo a scan with contrast dye, your doctor needs to draw your blood. This allows him to check your kidney and overall functions, as contrast materials are especially hard on kidneys.

There are circumstances (like old age, chronic kidney problems, diabetes, thyroid diseases) which can make you more prone to the side-effects of the contrast agent. However not everyone knows whether their kidneys function well or not, Medicover Hospital always tries to reduce the risks as low as possible with examinations prior the scan.

Does it have any side effects?

Side effects can happen up to 20 minutes after injecting the contrast material into the veins, or consuming it:

  • General feeling of warmth throughout the body
  • Rash, redness of the skin or itching
  • Nausea, vomiting

Our hospital is well-equipped to treat these symptoms properly. Please let the operator or nurses know as soon as you experience them.

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