South Australia Medical Imaging (SAMI)
Computerised Axial Tomography (CT OR CAT) scan is a diagnostic method commonly used to produce very detailed cross sectional pictures of the body.
The body is scanned by a x-ray tube and the information is transferred to a computer. The computer then transforms the data to produce high resolution pictures of the body.
If your child has been referred by his or her Doctor to have a CT scan you may have questions about the use of radiation. The Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Health Care provide information about your child and CT scans. To find out more ask for the brochure 'what you need to know about CT scans for children', or go to:
At SAMI we also subscribe to the Image Gently Alliance – for more information, please go to:
How to access the service
A referral letter or request form is required from your doctor prior to booking a study. Please bring these when you come to the SAMI service at WCH.
An appointment must be made for all studies. Appointments may be made by telephoning (08) 8161 6055.
Many of our studies require special preparation. Instructions will be given at the time the appointment is made. If these instructions are not followed it may not be possible to carry out the study and a new time will need to be booked so please be sure to follow instructions carefully.
Information for families
Our aim is to make the experience as pleasant as possible for you and your child while obtaining the information from the study that your doctor requires.
One parent or carer is encouraged to stay with children during the study provided they wear a lead apron and all safety precautions are met. Pregnant women may accompany their child into the scan room but are not permitted to stay during the scan.
Other children will not be allowed to accompany you to the CT room. Please make alternative arrangements for their care on that day. Children up to 10 years old may be cared for in the
The CT study requires your child to lie still for up to 30 minutes. This may be difficult for small children or children who find the CT frightening. Please inform you doctor if your child is claustrophobic or if you think they will be unable to lie still for the 30 minutes required. Your doctor may need to arrange for your child to have a general anaesthetic for the study. If this is the case special instructions will be given to you.
Some studies require the use of a contrast agent. This may involve drinking a special mixture. When intravenous contrast is used children will need to fast for two hours before their appointment and must arrive 45 mins before the appointment. The instructions for your child will be given when the appointment is made.
Your doctor may obtain a request form from SAMI at the Women's and Children's Hospital (WCH) – Phone (08) 8161 6639.
Patients requiring a general anaesthetic will require an admission booking form as well as the CT request form.
Information sheets for CT studies and general anaesthesia are available from SAMI at the WCH – Phone (08) 8161 6639.
last modified: 26 Aug 2019