Serving all people by providing personalized health and wellness through exemplary care, education and research.
Explore health content from A to Z.
I need information about...
CT scan is a type of imaging test. It uses X-rays and computer technology to make images or slices of the body. A CT scan can make detailed pictures of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, organs, and blood vessels. They are more detailed than regular X-rays.
In a CT scan, an X-ray beam moves in a circle around your body. This allows many different views of the same part of the body. The X-ray information is sent to a computer that interprets the X-ray data and displays it on a monitor.
During some tests you receive a contrast dye. This will make parts of your body show up better in the image.
CT scans of the chest can provide more detailed information about organs and structures inside the chest than standard X-rays of the chest. They can give more information about injuries or diseases of the chest organs.
The chest contains organs of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, as well as the esophagus. This is the hollow tube of muscle extending from below the tongue to the stomach. A CT scan of the chest may be done to check the chest and its organs for:
A CT scan may be done when another type of exam, such as an X-ray or physical exam, is not conclusive.
CT scans of the chest may also be used to guide needles during biopsies of thoracic organs or tumors. A biopsy is when a small piece of tissue is removed so it can be examined in the lab. They can also be done to help remove a sample of fluid from the chest. CT scans of the chest are useful in keeping an eye on tumors and other conditions of the chest before and after treatment.
There may be other reasons for your health care provider to recommend a CT scan of the chest.
You may want to ask your health care provider about the amount of radiation used during the CT scan. He or she can discuss the risks related to your particular situation. It is a good idea to keep a record of your past history of radiation exposure. Tell your health care provider about previous CT scans and other types of X-rays. Your risks of radiation exposure may be related to the total number of X-ray exams or treatments over a long period of time.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, tell your health care provider. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects.
If contrast dye is used, there is a risk for allergic reaction to the dye. Tell your health care provider if you have ever had a reaction to any contrast dye, or if you’ve had any kidney problems.
People with kidney failure or other kidney problems should tell their health care provider. In some cases, the contrast dye can cause kidney failure, especially if the patient has underlying kidney problems or is dehydrated. Patients taking the diabetes medicine metformin or Glucophage with contrast are at risk for developing metabolic acidosis. This is a condition where the person has an unsafe change in blood pH. People with kidney disease are more prone to kidney damage after contrast exposure.
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Discuss any concerns with your health care provider before the procedure.
Certain things may make a CT scan of the chest less accurate. These include:
You may have a chest CT scan as an outpatient or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your hospital’s practices.
Generally the chest CT scan follows this process:
While the CT scan itself causes no pain, having to lie still for the length of the procedure might cause some discomfort or pain, particularly in the case of a recent injury or invasive procedure such as surgery. The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort or pain.
If contrast dye was used during your procedure, you may be watched for a period of time for any side effects or reactions to the contrast dye. These include itching, swelling, rash, or trouble breathing.
Tell your health care provider if you notice any pain, redness, or swelling at the IV site after you return home. These could be signs of an infection or other type of reaction.
If you are given contrast by mouth, you may have diarrhea or constipation after the procedure.
Otherwise you don't need any special care after a CT scan of the chest. You may go back to your usual diet and activities unless your health care provider advises you differently.
Your health care provider may give you other instructions, depending on your situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
Copyright © 2016 Baylor Scott & White Health. All Rights Reserved. |
3500 Gaston Ave., Dallas, TX 75246-2017 | 1.800.4BAYLOR