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A chest computed tomography scan, or CT Chest scan, is a noninvasive test. It creates detailed & precise pictures of the structures in your chest, such as your lungs.
A chest CT scan is a type of x ray with more clear pictures of internal organs.
Like other x-ray tests, chest CT scans use a form of energy called ionizing radiation. This energy helps create pictures of the inside of your chest.
CT scans are frequently used to evaluate the chest. A chest CT scan is frequently ordered to look at the lungs, heart and nearby tissues. It may be ordered after a chest x-ray shows a lung nodule or to evaluate pneumonia and other lung diseases such as emphysema. Some chest CT scans are tailored to look for heart disease, aneurysms of the aorta or pulmonary emboli. Chest CT scans are also used to look for the spread or recurrence of cancer.
If you’ve been in an accident, a chest CT scan can detect a pneumothorax (air leak), fractures of the bones of the chest or bleeding.
A CT scan of the chest evaluates
A Chest CT scan will detect pneumonia, emphysema, lung scarring, pleural effusion (fluid on the lungs), lung cancer & pneumothorax (air leak).
The mediastinum refers to the part of the chest that holds your heart, vessels and the esophagus. The chest CT will detect lymph nodes, tumors in the chest, heart disease, pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart), aneurysms of the aorta and pulmonary emboli (these cause sudden shortness of breath). It can also detect inflammation or tumors of the esophagus.
Your chest is protected by your ribs, sternum and the spine. A chest CT scan can detect fractures of these bones, tumors, infection or degenerative changes.
A chest CT scan also includes parts of the upper abdomen and can pick up abnormalities of the liver, spleen and stomach.
How Is the Test Performed?
A CT Chest will be performed in an enclosed room at , diagnostic imaging center or in the hospital. You will lie down on your back on a narrow, flat table with your head on a pillow. Once you are ready, the table will slide into the scanner, where the scan takes place. If your doctor orders a CT with contrast, an IV will be placed in your hand or arm and contrast die injected into your vein before the test is performed. For your protection and to make sure you are not allergic to the contrast dye, you will be asked a series of questions before it is used.
It is extremely important that you lie completely still during the CT scan, as if you move, the images of your lungs will blur and the test will have to be repeated.
During the test, the table will advance through the scanner in short intervals. Depending upon the scanner, a complete scan will not take longer than a few minutes.
Are There Any Risks Involved?
The benefits of getting a CT scan are thought to far outweigh the risks. Although there is some exposure to radiation during the scan, it is highly regulated to provide the least amount needed to get a clear picture.
A CT scan is NOT recommend if you are pregnant but may be needed in diagnosing certain emergency situations, such as a pulmonary embolism.