A voiding cystogram, or VCUG, is a type of study used to determine ureteral reflux. Ureteral reflux is described as urine in the bladder flowing back into the ureters. The main indications for doing this study are: evaluation of persistent urinary tract infections, assessment of vesicoureteral reflux after medical intervention, or having a family history of reflux.
When the patient arrives they will need to have a Foley catheter placed in the urethra. A nurse will be placing the catheter in the scan room using a sterile technique. If a child is receiving the test, a parent may be present. The parent or guardian is encouraged to have a discussion with the child before entering the department to decrease the anxiety of the child during the exam.
The test will take approximately 1 hour. The patient will be lying flat on a scan table. A saline bag and tubing will be attached to the catheter after it is placed. The saline will be used to fill the bladder to its maximum capacity. Age and weight are taken into consideration for the amount of saline used. The saline will be mixed with a small amount of a radioactive tracer. This will allow us to visualize the bladder under a camera as it is filling. After completion of filling the catheter will be removed and the patient will be prompted to urinate. Usually a bedpan or urinal is provided to the patient because imaging will still continue during urination. Pictures need to be obtained during both filling and voiding phases because reflux can occur at either stage. After the bladder has been emptied a 60 second image will be obtained and the test is complete.
A radiologist will interpret the images, write a report, and deliver the results to your doctor via the internal computer system.
It is essential to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant before undergoing this scan because of radiation exposure.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/25/2020.
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