CT of the Chest

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A CT scan, or CAT scan, is a common term for computerized tomography, a diagnostic imaging test that displays two and three dimensional images of internal structures of the body on a computer screen. Cat Scan uses a narrow beam of X-rays and high-powered computers to generate images of bones and soft-tissues in the body

Need to Know

Nice to Know
  • Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
  • Please inform your doctor if you are allergic to contrast
  • Do not eat solid foods 2 hours prior to your exam
  • Take all of your prescribed medications as scheduled
  • This exam is usually completed within 15-20 minutes
  • •Non-invasive and painless
  • •Allows for more accurate diagnosis than traditional x-ray


Why is This Exam Done?

A chest CT scan provides detailed pictures of the size, shape, and position of your lungs and other structures in your chest and can determine if there is a lung problem or other condition.

The CT scan helps find the cause of any symptoms you may be having such as chest pain, excessive cough or trouble breathing. It looks for problems such as tumors, excess fluid around the lungs, and blood clots. It can also check for conditions such as tuberculosis, emphysema, and pneumonia.

What Will Happen During the Exam?

  • While positioning you on an exam table, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.
  • If contrast dye is being used, it will be injected through an IV placed in your arm.
  • During the injection, you may experience a warm sensation all over your body and a metal taste in your mouth. This is normal.
  • If you experience any itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, scratchy throat or swelling of your face, please notify the technologist immediately.
  • You will be asked to lie flat on your back.
  • The exam table will slide into the scanner, only covering the part of your body which is being studied. The scanner is open at the back and the front, allowing you to see out.
  • The technologist will always be able to see and hear you during your exam.
  • You may be asked to hold your breath for a short time while the scanner takes a series of pictures. The time it takes to actually acquire images is very brief.
  • The images will be reviewed, and if necessary, some may be repeated.
  • This procedure usually takes approximately 15-20 minutes.
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How Should I Prepare?

What to Wear

Please dress in comfortable clothing.  Leave all jewelry and valuables at home


Please take all the medications that have been prescribed to you by your doctor. Let our staff know what medications you have taken prior to your exam.

Food and Drink

You should not eat solid foods for two hours prior to your test, if your exam is  scheduled with contrast. You may, however, drink plenty of clear fluids, such as water and broth.

What Should I Bring?

If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.

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What Are the Benefits and Risks?

The benefits of CT of the Chest:

  • Can provide more detailed, accurate results than traditional x-ray
  • Can detect problems/disease earlier
  • Involves minimal risks
  • Painless, noninvasive and accurate
  • Fast and simple
  • Can be performed if you have an implanted medical device, unlike MRI
  • May eliminate the need for exploratory surgery or biops
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Where Can I Get This Exam?

CT of the chest is performed at the locations:

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