With the advancements in diagnostic and imaging technology, diagnosis and prognosis of diseases that were once obscure to the naked eye are easily made possible. Computed tomography is one such diagnostic technique that combines two technologies to generate images of body organs. One common question asked is: Can a computed tomography (CT) help figure out the renal problems? And the answer to this question is yes. A CT scan of the kidney can highlight the renal problems effectively, thereby making sure your physician is fully cognizant of the actual status of your renal health. In today’s discussion, we talk about the type of computed tomography that is used to analyze kidney problems, commonly dubbed as CT KUB. What does CT KUB stand for? How is it done? Are there any risks? We answer these and many other questions in detail, in this discussion.
What is CT KUB?
First things first, what does this abbreviation stand for? Well, CT KUB refers to computed tomography of the kidney, ureter, and bladder[i]. We will like to make it very clear here, right at the very beginning of this article, that CT KUB is not the only procedure used to diagnose your kidney issues and problems. Rather, a number of other techniques like KUB-X-rays, kidney biopsies, and renal angiography can also be used to assess what is wrong with a patient’s renal system. Now that you understand what the term means, the next question would be in which cases CT KUB becomes a necessity? We talk about the indications of this diagnostic procedure in the next subsection of this discussion.
One of the most common reasons why a CT KUB might be performed is the suspected presence of renal tumors. But there are other reasons for performing this diagnostic process as well. These reasons include renal stones and conditions such as polycystic kidneys. In case you are not aware of what happens in the aforementioned condition, let us define this disease briefly here. Polycystic kidney disease refers to a condition in which fluid-filled cysts are formed inside a kidney [ii]. This is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. Apart from these indications, a CT KUB might also be helpful in procedures such as kidney biopsies.
In this section of the discussion, we talk about the specific set of instructions that a patient needs to follow, prior to undergoing a CT KUB. For starters, you will have to change into a patient gown. More often than not, CT scans are conducted using contrast media. This is usually an iodine-based solution. In a double contrasted CT KUB, the patient is asked to gulp down this media [iii], so that the visibility levels are improved during the imaging technique. Oh, and the patient has to sign a form of recognition of risks associated with IV line injection. There is no reason why a patient should skip his or her routine medication unless specified by the doctor otherwise.
How is CT KUB done?
We now come to the point around which this whole article revolves. What happens during a CT KUB? To make things easier for you to understand, we have described the main events of this process in bullets [iv]:
1- To prevent movement that can interfere with the imaging process, straps are used. The patient’s technologist is in the next room, from where he monitors the entire process. In case of any problem, the patient can simply communicate with the technologist via a call button.
2- CT scanners revolve around the patient, X-rays penetrate through the patient’s body who doesn’t feel anything. At this stage of the procedure, clicking noises emanate which are nothing to worry about.
3- The X-rays which were absorbed by the patient’s body are then detected by scanners. Next up, these are transmitted to the computer which does its magic to sketch an image using these X-rays.
4- With the procedure ending at this point, the patient is removed from the scanner area. IV lines are also taken off.
5- The images are then sent to a radiologist, who is the professional to comment on the findings.
Now, we know that some of you were pretty freaked out while reading the steps that we just discussed. Well, more than the actual steps that a patient see’s happening, one should be worried about the unseen. Of course, we are talking about the radiation dose here [v]. It is imperative that the patients undergoing a CT KUB must ask their doctors about the radiation quotient. Also, checking with the radiologist about the contrast media that we mentioned earlier is also important. There is a chance that a patient might be allergic to it. If a patient has a history of allergy to iodine-containing contrast media, an alternative must be sought.
As you can see, diagnostic procedures like CT KUB have made the analysis of renal anomalies an easy affair. If protocols are followed, and the procedure is conducted methodically, the chances of things going awry are minimal. On the other hand, there are a lot of benefits associated with the CT KUB, which make this diagnostic procedure the first choice for nephrologists to know more about their patient’s renal health.
Post CT KUB
Once the procedure is over, the patient might be asked to remain in the observatory for a short span of time. This is a common practice in CT scans in which contrast media is used. Just to make sure that the person undergoing a CT scan doesn’t face any adverse side reactions, he or she is kept under observation. In other instances, there is no need for keeping the patient in observation.
It is about time we wrapped up this discussion. Hopefully, you learned something new about the useful imaging technique that CT KUB is. If you are someone who is planning to undergo this procedure soon, reading these lines must have put your mind at ease. There is nothing to worry about, you can take a chill pill! On that reassuring note, we bid you farewell from this discussion.