A CT scan is medical test that assists physicians in diagnosing and treating a variety of medical conditions. The test is noninvasive, and the entire process of getting the scan only takes about half an hour.
A CT scan uses a combination of high-tech computers and specialized X-ray equipment. This technology is able to produce multiple photos or images of the body's interior, including the bones, internal organs, blood vessels and soft tissue. This scan offers higher clarity and can include more specific details than a standard X-ray.
A variety of techniques allow the radiation amount required for a chest CT scan to be reduced significantly, including new software technology options. The dose can also be altered to reflect the patient's size. A chest CT with a low dose will provide images that can reveal a number of lung diseases and abnormalities. These scans use 65 percent or less ionizing radiation than standard chest CT scans.
Other conditions, such as interstitial lung disease or pulmonary embolism, may not be detected with such a low-dose chest CT. It is up to your radiologist to determine what scan settings should be used for your particular medical problems and the information that needs to be obtained from the CT scan.
Common uses of chest CT results
Chest CT scans are most frequently used for the following:
Chest CT scans are also used to identify a number of lung disorders, including the following:
Finally, a CT angiogram (CTA) may be used to assess the chest's blood vessels (also known as the arteries and veins). This process consists of a rapid injection of a fluid that includes an iodine-containing substance into a vein while simultaneously getting CT images.
Preparing for a chest CT scan
When you are preparing for a chest CT scan, you should take the following steps: