A Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
, also known as a CAT scan (computerized axial tomography), is a diagnostic test that combines the use of X-rays and computer technology. X-ray images are taken of an area of the body from different angles. These images are then put together via computer to create a detailed picture of the area - including bones, organs, blood vessels and tissue - in a single image.
Our outpatient radiology facilities all utilize CT scanners with multi-detector technology, which produces fast, high quality cross-sectional images of the body's organ tissues and vascular systems. This advanced technology allows for new capabilities, including cardiac imaging, and helps our doctors to more effectively detect and treat a wide range of life threatening illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, and lung disease.
Because a CT scan provides such detailed anatomical information, it is often performed as a complementary test to the PET scan. At The Chester County Hospital, the two scans are done simultaneously for a more accurate reading of the patient's findings.
Exam Preparations for Outpatients over the Age of 16
- If you are scheduled for an oral or IV contrast study, do not eat or drink beginning 3 hours before the scheduled time of the exam (except medications which can be taken with a small amount of water).
- If your examination requires oral contrast you may pick it up, at no charge, at any Chester County Hospital Radiology location (regardless of where your test is scheduled to be performed).
- Individuals with renal/kidney disease and those 60 or more years of age who are scheduled for a contrast injection need BUN and Creatinine lab work two weeks prior to the study. Please check with your physician.
Before the Exam
The technologist will take you to a private dressing room where you will change into a gown. Depending on your test, you may be asked to drink a contrast solution - a liquid that improves the visibility of structures within the body. Some tests require an IV contrast, while others require a combination of both IV and oral contrast. If IV contrast is needed, you will be asked to sign an information form.
During a CT Scan
You will be asked to lie down on the X-ray table. The table will be moved into the large opening of the CT scanner, as a series of scans are taken. You may be given an injection of IV dye to enhance the image of the blood vessels and surrounding organs. The study lasts approximately one half hour.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
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