Chalasia Scan

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A chalasia (ka-LAY-sha) scan is a test that is done to find out why your child is vomiting or spitting up food. The test shows if the muscles of the esophagus (eh-SOF-uh-gus) and stomach are working properly. The scan is done in the Nuclear Medicine Department.

How to Prepare for the Test

  • Before the test, your child should have nothing to eat or drink, for 4 hours if he or she is from 0 through 2 years of age, 6 hours if he is 3 through 5 years of age and 8 hours if he is over 6 years old.
  • If your child is an infant, please bring a bottle of formula with you. If your infant is breast-fed and does not drink formula, please bring breast milk with you (keep it in a cooler with ice packs).
  • For an older child a standard meal will be provided. The meal consists of 2 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of toast with jelly and 8 ounces of water. The eggs will be cooked in the department with the needed radioactive material. If your child is allergic to eggs, please bring oatmeal, yogurt or pudding.

How the Scan Is Done

image of a chalasia scan

  • If your child is a patient in the hospital and under 3 years of age or is an outpatient and is unable to drink the formula or milk, a feeding tube will be placed into the stomach. This tube is passed through the nostril to the stomach and stays in place for only a short time.
  • If your child is an outpatient, you will be asked to help feed him or her.
  • Before the test, your child will be placed on a “papoose board” and wrapped in soft blankets. This will help keep him from moving around during the test. Your child will be placed on a long table that has a camera over it (Picture 1). If he is old enough to hold still on his own, the papoose board will not be used.
  • A tiny amount of radioactive material (that has about the same amount of radiation as a chest X-ray) will be added to the milk. If your child is an infant, his stomach will be filled with the milk by mouth or through the feeding tube. After the stomach is filled, the feeding tube will be removed.
  • Depending on your child’s normal diet, he may be given liquids only (milk, formula or juice) or liquids and solids (toast, eggs, pudding, applesauce).
  • Talk with the nuclear medicine technologist if you have any concerns about what your child may eat or drink. Tell the technologist if your child cannot tolerate or is allergic to certain foods.
  • A child over 3 years of age can usually drink the milk from a cup. Then the child must lie down on the table and stay very still. Many pictures will be taken of your child's esophagus and stomach as the milk goes through the digestive system.
  • It will take about 4 hours for the test.

After the Scan

  • After the chalasia scan is over, your child may have his usual foods.

  • Your doctor will tell you the results of the test and the plan of care.

If you have any questions, please ask your doctor or nurse or call the Nuclear Medicine Department at (614) 722-2336.

Chalasia Scan (PDF)

HH-III-36 6/79, Revised 02/16 Copyright 1979, Nationwide Children's Hospital