What is a Chest CT?
Computerized tomography (CT) scan is an imaging technique that uses special x-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of the internal structures of the body. A contrast material or dye may be administered intravenously to obtain a more detailed view. These images are used to diagnose a variety of diseases.
Chest CT scan is used to produce images of the bones, blood vessels, soft tissues, and organs in the chest to detect any abnormalities.
Indications for a Chest CT
A chest CT is indicated to identify:
- Lung tumors
- Blood clots
- Chest injuries and trauma
- Pulmonary embolism
- Complications of post-thoracic surgery
- Rib fracture
- Lung infections
Preparation for a Chest CT
Some of the common preparatory methods for a chest CT include:
- Inform your doctor in case you are allergic to any dye or medications.
- Talk to your doctor about the medicines you are taking.
- You will be instructed to remove your clothes and change into a patient gown.
- You need to remove all jewelry before the procedure.
- Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or diabetic.
Procedure of Chest CT
Procedure of chest CT includes:
- Your doctor will instruct you to lie on your back on a CT table.
- If contrast dye is to be used it will be given intravenously in your arm. You should inform your doctor if you experience any itching.
- Your head will be stabilized with a pillow or a strap so that you can lie still throughout the procedure.
- Speakers inside the scanner will enable you to communicate with your technician.
- The table will slide into a large donut-shaped machine that takes images while moving around your chest.
- Your doctor will then instruct you to hold your breath, breathe in and breathe out to obtain good images that help to detect any damage or injury.
- The whole procedure may take up to 15-20 minutes.
- The IV line will be disconnected once the procedure is completed.
Post-procedure Care after Chest CT
There is no special care needed after the procedure. If contrast dye is used you will be kept under observation to check for signs of any side effects caused due to the dye and your doctor will instruct you to drink 6-8 glasses of water to flush out the contrast dye.
Risks and Complications of Chest CT
Risks and complications of chest CT include:
- Allergic reaction to the contrast dye
- Exposure to radiation
- Birth defects in case of pregnancy