Testing — 1, 2, 3

Testing — 1, 2, 3
After a weeklong delay, I had my liver biopsy yesterday. Today, I’m under doctor’s orders to be lazy. I’ll be spending the next few days not lifting more than 10 pounds or exercising. I’ve had more medical tests the past three months than I’ve had in the three years since my liver transplant in 2017. I had forgotten what life was like when I would get an abdominal ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and a computerized tomography (CT) scan every one or two years in addition to the monthly blood draws, annual colonoscopy, and biannual endoscopy to manage my autoimmune diseases. As a refresher for myself and others, this column covers how to prep for, what to expect during, and recovering after common tests ordered for IBD patients. #1: Preparing for the test As with any test, preparation is the key to success. Not following pre-test instructions can cause poor results or having to redo the exam. Several IBD-related procedures require the patient to fast beforehand to empty the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This reduces interference and prevents regurgitation during the exam. For an abdominal ultrasound, the patient must not eat or drink eight to 12 hours before. Undigested food and liquid can impede the sound waves that produce images of the organs and blood flow. With some MRIs and CT scans, the patient shouldn’t eat. However, they may be allowed to drink small amounts of water to prevent dehydration. Also, depending on the area being examined, the patient may have to drink a contrast or dye. For my magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), which is a type of MRI, I had to drink pineapple juice. When I had an MRI of my GI tract years ago, I had to drink barium sulfate, which wasn’t as appetizing. Fasting is vital when the
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