VCUG After a Kidney Infection (Catheter for a Little One!)

Updated on April 02, 2012
R.F. asks from Plano, TX
7 answers

My daughter was in the hospital last week with a pretty bad kidney infection. The doctor is recommending a VCUG (a catheter to test if her bladder is refluxing any urine back into her kidneys). I don't think I will be able to make it to the appointment, as I used up all of my sick days (my husband will be there). Have any of you had to have a similar procedure for a 5/6 year old girl? I want to prepare her, but not scare her. She was a pincushion last week with all of the IVs, blood tests, etc. But a great patient. Any experiences/advice?
As far as preventing additional problems if they are not chronic, I've been on top of her to wipe front to back, as ecoli was present. I know probiotics/cranberry juice will help (if she'll drink it!).
Thank you!!

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answers from Harrisburg on

Honestly, I don't believe that there is any way to prepare for a VCUG. They are extremely invasive & uncomfortable. My daughter has had 2 VCUG's & they are not fun to say the least. Unfortunately, it is a necessary test to diagnose urinary reflux & to determine the grade of reflux. I am opposed to my daughter taking a long term antibiotic to prevent reflux. I feel that the side effects are just too great and studies show that children that use antibiotics to prevent UTI's only lessen the chance of a UTI by 13%. My daughter takes probiotics (as you've mentioned) & also D-mannose. I usually buy her D-mannose on amazon. It is a natural sugar that e-coli binds to in the body & then is passed out through urine. E-coli is the main cause of UTI'S? Good luck & make sure daddy is ready to hold her hand during the VCUG & ready to spend the rest of the day spoiling the heck out of her b/c she deserves it! Also, urination may be painful once or twice after the test so don't push it. My 4 yr old actually had an accident in the middle of the Disney store b/c she was afraid to use the restroom due to pain. I told her to finish up in the middle of the aisle & discretely asked a worker for something to clean up the mess, bought a new outfit, changed in the dressing room & she was good to go!

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answers from Detroit on

My daughter had to have 3 VCUG. At 2, 3, and 4. She had kidney reflux and they had to do a VCUG every year until the kidney reflux resolved itself. Ask about your dr if your daughter can be put under. It made a huge difference for my daughter. She still remembers the procedure the time she was not put under. At our hospital we could be in the room until she was under and then they called us back in after the procedure. It was still traumatic and she had some pain urinating after for a few times. Best of luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

my baby has had the VCUG twice. Of course screamed and hated it. I cannot help you with what to expect for pain, but I asked the nurses if she was likely to feel pain and they said not pain, but its uncomfortable. Getting the cath is similar to having blood taken in that some nurses are really great and others struggle to get it in there pain free. The procedure itself takes several minutes. While my baby did scream her head off, it wasn't a pain cry. The room will be dimly lit with large full body X-ray machines. It will likely just be the nurse, dad, and patient. we never saw the radiologist. BAby had to be strapped to a board but thats because she's a baby. She was covered during the procedure. Bring a teddy bear.

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answers from Boston on

If at all possible, try to be there. It is a very invasive and uncomfortable procedure. There was another post about this over the weekend, so see if you can find it. I had it when I was 3. It wasn't "traumatic" but my mother and I both remember it pretty vividly and it's been over 30 years.

I don't really think there's much you can say to prepare her. "Honey, you're going to lay on a cold table in a room full of people with no panties on while they thread a tube up your urethra into you bladder, fill your bladder with colored liquid and then have you pee on the table lying down in front of everyone while they take pictures of your bladder and kidneys" just doesn't sound comforting, does it? Luckily for you...there is someone who has written this in a more comforting way ;-) Check out the link below - this will at least explain to her what they're looking at and why:

Best of luck to her. I like the idea of a kid bringing a lovey in with her, especially if you can't be there. It is a pretty embarrassing procedure though so she may be more comfortable with you there instead of daddy. She'll be more exposed than we are during a pap smear, if that gives you an idea (girls lay with their legs open and they don't cover up the area with a sheet if I recall correctly).

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi R.,
I'm sorry to hear about your daughter, poor thing. I don't have experience w/ this per se, but if it is to be done in her hospital room, I would personally get her good and zoned out on her favorite cartoons/shows. You may even want to bring a portable DVD player in and have her watch her favorite movie. I've read studies that show that TV anesthetizes kids and that some hospitals use it to help their smaller patients when a painful procedure is occurring. Maybe turn it on 1/2 to an hour in advance and keep it going during the procedure? Very best of luck!!

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answers from Tampa on

My 4 year old has had at least 4 VCUGs and they SUCK every time. Do whatever you can for her...bribe her and promise her something really great to get through it. It is a necessary evil, but it is my most dreaded day of the entire year.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter has had two. One when she was 2 and one a year later for a followup. Definitely ask to have light sediation administered. Quite honestly, under these circumstances, it wasn't a really big deal for my daughter. I just had to convince her that it was ok to pee on the table. We sort of made a joke about it. Good luck, and ask as many questions ahead of time that you feel necessary about the proceduare and the specific hospital. Also, ask the tech after it's done what level of reflux she you don't have to wait for the doctor. My daughter ended up having very low level of refulx, but she was still on an antiobiotic for a year. We also learned about probiotics at this time, because the meds were a killer on her intestines!

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