4 Things to Do When Preparing Your Child for a Vascular Ultrasound

Posted on: 28 May 2021

Taking your child for a vascular ultrasound may sound daunting, but it doesn't have to be a scary experience. A vascular ultrasound creates a dynamic image of the circulatory system by passing an ordinary sound wave through tissues that are dense and this sound wave is reflected back to the machine on the other side. The process is similar to how an X-ray creates an image but without the use of any harmful radiation. As such, vascular ultrasounds don't need to be anything to worry about; however, if you want your child's ultrasound to go smoothly, it's a good idea to prepare well in advance. Here are a few tips to help you get ready.

1. Inform your child about the procedure

The best way to break the ice and start preparing your child for their vascular ultrasound is to clearly and calmly explain the procedure. Children may not always appreciate the need to prepare for a vascular ultrasound, and it can be a daunting situation for young minds, so it's important that you help them understand in advance. Let your child know that the ultrasound gel may be cold and feel strange and the ultrasound technician may have to gently prod around the whole body, but make sure your child knows they don't need to be worried about any pain or risk. Recognizing how scared your child may be is key so you can eliminate any worries ahead of time. 

2. Dress your child comfortably

It is important for children to dress comfortably to help ease their nerves and ensure they don't get too hot or too cold in the ultrasound room. It's also a good idea to choose loose-fitting clothes or clothing that's easy to remove as children may need to change into a gown before the examination to be performed.

3. Follow rules around eating and drinking

For many vascular ultrasound procedures, it's okay for your child to eat or drink normally before their appointment. However, if your child is having an abdominal vascular ultrasound, your doctor will advise you to keep food and drink away for several hours before the examination. If they need to take any medicine before an abdominal ultrasound, it's best that they take it with a very small sip of water. This is because food and drink can obscure the imagery and make it difficult for your technician to get the most accurate view. Note that if your child is diabetic, they will need to take their insulin beforehand.

4. Keep your child entertained

Vascular ultrasounds are usually completed in less than an hour, but this can feel like a very long time for a young child. Plus, there'll likely be a wait at the hospital before your child's examination. During this time, children can become very nervous and fidgety, which can interfere with the process. As such, it's a good idea to bring something that can divert their attention and occupy them. For example, consider taking along a handheld games console, music or video player, a storybook, or even a stuffed toy to keep your child stress-free and ensure the ultrasound goes off without a hitch.