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Medical or laboratory tests

Various diagnostic tests are often used to help diagnose or treat medical conditions. Learn more about these tests so you can feel informed.

Understanding your child’s medical or laboratory test

What are medical and laboratory tests?

  • Medical tests include x-rays, MRIs and CT scans
  • Lab tests include blood tests and urine samples

Questions to ask about medical and lab tests

  • Why your child needs a test
  • Which test(s) will be done
  • How to prepare your child for the test
  • If you can be with your child during the test

Are there any risks with medical or lab tests?

  • X-rays and CT scans use radiation. Some patients have received too much radiation.
  • MRIs use strong magnets. Metal objects accidentally pulled into the MRI machine have injured some patients.
  • Ask the staff what has been done to make sure your child is safe during the test.

What should you do if your child is having a blood test or other lab test?

  • Ask to see the label on the container that holds your child’s sample. The label should have your child’s name and birth date, or another piece of information.
  • See that the container is immediately sealed.

What should you do if your child is having an x-ray, MRI or CT scan?

  • Ask if your child will be given a contrast agent. This is a liquid that makes organs and blood vessels easy to see on x-rays and other tests. Tell the staff if your child has had problems with contrast agents before.
  • Immediately tell the staff if your child begins to itch or have trouble breathing after receiving a contrast agent.