What does the CT in CT Scan mean?

Computed Tomography or CAT Scan

1. What is the doctor looking for?

CT scans are used to evaluate the cause of pain, infections, stones, blockages, and fractures or to look for masses.

2. What is the test?

It is an x-ray procedure, which is performed to analyze internal structures of any body part, and to aid in diagnosing disease.

3. Where is the test done?

CT scans are performed within the radiology department.

4. May I eat or drink?

Yes, but if you are given liquid barium as a test preparation please follow the specified time instructions.

5. What about medication?

If the CT test was ordered without contrast, you may take your medications. if your CT test was ordered with contrast, please follow the directions in #6.

6. Is there anything special I need to know if my CT test is ordered with contrast?

Yes. There are blood tests (BUN and Creatinine) that need to be done before your CT test with contrast if you:

Be sure that your doctor gives you an order for the blood tests, which can be done in the lab before your CT test.

If you have had the BUN and Creatinine test done within the last two weeks (14 days), you can:
1. bring the results with you in the morning of the test.
2. ask the doctor to fax the results to Central Scheduling before the date of your CT test.

Note: If you take Metformin, stop taking it at the time of the CT test. (Includes Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glucovance-Glyburide, Avandamet-Rosiglitazone, Metaglip-Glipzide, and Metformin)

7. Will I have an I.V?

Depending on the kind of exam you may have an I.V. of x-ray contrast in a vein in your arm during the exam.

8. Do I need special clothing?

It is not necessary to get undressed for the procedure. You may be directed to move away belts, zippers, pins that would be in the way of the scan.

9. What should I bring?

The order for the procedure.

10. What to expect?

During the C.T. examination the patient will lie on a cushioned table, which will move through a large donut shaped x-ray machine.
Images are obtained at many different angles around the body. It is important during the CAT scan that the patient remains as still as possible.
The technologist will ask the patient to hold their breath for several brief seconds.
Te technologist directly watches the patient through an observation window during the procedure for patient safety.

11. How long does the test take?

Be prepared to be at the hospital for 1 hour.

12. Tell your doctor if you

Have a history of having an allergic reaction to IV contrast as your doctor may want to prescribe a medication for you to take prior to the procedure.

13. Will the test make me sick or sleepy?

Occasionally the oral barium may give people diarrhea. The I.V. contrast may make a patient feel warm and give a metal taste during the administering of the contrast. This will only last a few seconds and the patient should feel fine upon leaving.

14. Will I receive radiation during the procedure?

Yes, in the form of x-rays. Special care is taken to minimize the dose of radiation through a trained technologist, but the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.

15. What if I am pregnant?

Only for special circumstances should pregnant women receive a CT scan. It would be at the agreement of her doctor and the radiologist. Anyone suspecting they may be pregnant should notify the ordering physician and the CT Technologist.

For more information, view this video at: www.radiologyinfo.org

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