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Contrasts for abdominal Cat Scan and breastfeeding

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  • Contrasts for abdominal Cat Scan and breastfeeding

    I am going for a Cat Scan in a few weeks and have been advised to pump and dump for 24hrs after the scan. I have not found out exactly what they use, but I will try to find out for sure. From what I found online I believe it is iodine and barium that they have used for my previous scans. They do an iv as well as getting me to drink something. I'm wondering if these types of contrast required pump and dump for 24 hours?

    Also wondering if there is anything that penetrates/ stays in breast milk at all from the scan itself?

  • #2
    Hi, thanks for your post.

    The whole point of using contrast agents like this is that they stay where you put them. Barium, for example, highlights the inside of the stomach and intestines. If it were absorbed into the blood, then the picture would be hazy and useless. The same is true of iodinated and gadolinium-based contrast agents; they are designed to stay in the blood (or some other body compartment) and not wander all over the place. The molecules are large and tightly bound together so that they do not cross vascular and tissue barriers. Previous studies of iodinated contrast agents have shown that about 0.01% of the dose injected into the mother ends up in the baby's blood. Here's what the American College of Radiology has to say about administering contrast to breastfeeding mothers:

    "Mothers who are breast-feeding should be given the opportunity to make an informed decision as to whether to continue breast-feeding or temporarily abstain from breast-feeding after receiving intravascularly administered iodinated contrast medium. Because of the very small percentage of iodinated contrast medium that is excreted into the breast milk and absorbed by the infant's gut, we believe that the available data suggest that it is safe for the mother and infant to continue breast feeding after receiving such an agent. If the mother remains concerned about any potential ill effects to the infant, she may abstain from breast-feeding for 24 hours with active expression and discarding of breast milk from both breasts during that period."

    For anyone reading this, please post again or call us at the InfantRisk Center, (806)352-2519, if this has not completely answered your question. I would also appreciate you filling out a 2 minute survey about your time on the forum:

    -James Abbey, MD


    • #3

      Hi, I'm sitting in the CT reception now drinking a barium instead of the usual iodine type contrast. The hospital I am at did not know I am breast feeding (I had told the doctor who booked it) and this one recommend for me to not breast feeding for 24 hours after. They said this barium is safer. Can you confirm that barium is also safe to continue breastfeeding? I am still doing the iodide iv injection (that is what they are most concerned about, but I am making the informed choice) Thanks!


      • #4

        Inharmony222, thanks for posting,

        Barium is ok. It is not absorbed orally; therefore, none will enter the maternal milk compartment or cause harm to a breastfeeding infant. No interruption in breastfeeding is necessary. We will need the exact name of the iodine contrast in order to advise you correctly. Please repost or call the InfantRisk Center at 806-352-2519. Thanks

        Sandra Lovato R.N.
        InfantRisk Center
        Last edited by Sandra; 06-11-2015, 08:13 AM.