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CT FAQs

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What is Computed Axial Tomography (CT)?
Computerized Axial Tomography (CT) scanning utilizes X-ray technology that has been manipulated by a computer processor to create images that show a cross section of body organs, tissues and bony detail. These images can be further processed to create a 3-D image. This advanced technology is usually utilized to view the vessels, organs and bony structure with more detail.

For example; a Physician may want to look at the vessel detail in a Cardiac CT Angiography (CTA), which is used to evaluate patients with chest pain. By utilizing the 3-D technique the interpreting Radiologist can view the vessels in the heart and look for blockages. In fact, the technology has advanced so significantly that the physicians are able to get vital information about coronary artery disease with a minimally invasive test that can be completed within 30-45 minutes (Cardiac or Coronary CT Angiography Screening).

What are the benefits of CT imaging?
CT Imaging has many benefits because it allows your physician to look at internal organs, bony structures and blood vessels. This allows your physician to diagnose abnormalities such as tumors, fractures, infectious processes and vascular anomalies. Due to CT cutting edge technology, diagnosis can be made in a very timely manner and is often used for evaluation of traumatic injuries.

What should I expect during my CT scan?
CT imaging is essentially painless, although an IV injection may be required by your physician or at the request of the Radiologist. The intravenous contrast, or dye, allows for optimal visualization of the blood vessels and internal organs, thus assisting the Radiologist to better diagnose your condition.

If contrast or dye is required:an IV is placed in your arm by a technologist. You may experience a slight flushed feeling throughout your body; however, any symptoms that you may experience should pass within a few minutes.

During your test it is very important that you lie still and follow the breathing instructions given by the technologist in order to obtain the best possible images. Every attempt will be made to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout your procedure.

Additionally, some procedures may require that you drink oral contrast prior to the CT scan. At St. Elizabeth you have the option to either pick up your oral contrast at any of our locations including the Imaging Centers, so that you may begin your prep the night before, or you can prep the same day of your exam at your scheduled location. The oral contrast is utilized on Abdominal and Pelvic CT’s to highlight the stomach and small and large intestines.

What are the risks involved?
We will screen you multiple times for any allergies related to IV contrast or Iodine:

  • It is likely that you will be asked by your physician, central scheduling, and by the technologist
    • If a known allergy exists and is of a mild nature such as sneezing, itching or hives, PLEASE NOTIFY YOUR PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY so that you can be medicated prior to your exam in order for the contrast to be given to you safely.
    • If during the test you experience any signs of allergy after your injection, PLEASE NOTIFY THE TECHNOLOGIST IMMEDIATELY, so that they can assess you.
    • If the reaction is mild, a healthcare provider may decide to monitor you for a short time.
    • Rarely, some patients may experience a more severe reaction. If this occurs, PLEASE NOTIFY THE TECHNOLOGIST IMMEDIATELY, so that proper treatment can be provided.

Will my CT affect my diabetes?
Diabetic patients should discuss their CT procedure with their doctor prior to their exam

  • If they are receiving IV contrast
  • If they are taking any form of glucose lowering medications such as Metformin or Glucophage.

Patients will be required to stop these types of medications for 48 hours after the CT is performed.

What are the most commonly performed procedures?

  • CT Head
  • CT Neck
  • CT Abdomen
  • CT Pelvis
  • CT Angiography
  • CT Chest
  • CT Spine
  • CT Extremities
  • CT Screenings
    • Cardiac (Coronary) CT Angiography Screening
    • Lung Cancer Screening
  • CT Myelography
  • CT guided Biopsies or Drainages
  • CT guided Ablations
  • PET/CT scan

What are CT-guided Biopsies or Drainages?
Because some abnormalities can best be visualized with CT Imaging, it is often required for the Biopsy/Drainage to be performed with CT Guidance.

A biopsy is a procedure that involves removal of affected tissue that can be analyzed by the laboratory for further information. Drainage is a procedure that has a fluid collection that needs to be drained for further testing.

These types of procedures will be discussed in detail by the performing healthcare provider prior to performing the procedure.

What is the criteria for a Low Dose Lung Screening CT?
To learn more about the criteria for our Low Dose Lung Screening CT, please click here.

What is a Cardiac (Coronary) CT Angiography Screening?
To learn more about Cardiac (Coronary) CT Angiography Screenings, please click here.



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