Chest CT scan
What is a CT scan of the chest?
Chest CT uses a thin beam of X-ray and a rapidly moving X-ray tube to acquire data from different angles around your body, which is used to create cross sectional images. Chest CT images are taken from the tops of your lungs through the tops of your kidneys. Chest CTs can help to evaluate for lung and other chest masses, pneumonia, abnormal lymph nodes and interstitial lung diseases. They can help stage cancers that originate in the lungs or elsewhere in the body, and can help locate abnormalities not visible on routine chest radiographs (X-rays) or analyze abnormalities suggested by X-rays or other imaging procedures.
How do I prepare for the exam?
No food should be eaten for four hours prior to your exam time but fluids are encouraged. Patients should wear clothing that is comfortable and that has little or no metal. Chains and necklaces must be removed before being brought into the exam room.
What will happen during the exam?
Depending on the reason for your exam you may have an intravenous catheter (IV) placed in your arm. Through this IV, contrast solution will be injected. During the exam you will lie on a table with your arms raised above your head. The table will rise up and move in and out of a large circle once the exam has started. The technologist will explain any breathing instructions you may have during the actual exam and cover some specific medical history questions.
After this is complete the scan will start. A few images will be taken so that the technologist can set up the area to be scanned. At this point it will be very important that you hold still. If you are receiving an injection of contrast, a technologist will stay in the room for the start of the injection and step out just prior to the scan starting again. Most patients will have this test done lying on their back but there are some patients that will need to lie on their stomach.
How long will the exam take and how will I learn my results?
Depending on the reason for your test, the procedure can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
You will get the results of the exam from your doctor.
What will happen after the exam?
A technologist will process your images using a computer. Images will generally be reviewed within 24 hours. A report will be sent to your physician.