A CT scan of the chest and upper abdomen is commonly done to evaluate lung conditions, blood clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism), abnormalities seen on a chest X-ray, or to plan for radiation treatment of cancers of the chest and lungs.
How do I prepare for the exam?
On certain patients, blood work is required prior to the exam (your scheduler will notify you if labs are needed). You may be asked to remove jewelry and clothing.
What can I expect during the exam?
This exam is conducted by a radiologic technologist specially trained in CT.
An IV will be started by the technologist or a nurse for the contrast to be injected through. You will lie on the table on your back, with your arms above your head.
You will be asked to lie very still, sometimes holding your breath (instructions will be given through the machine). You will feel the table move in and out of the machine.
The technologist will come in to ensure the contrast is injected, and you may feel a warm sensation or get a metallic taste in your mouth. Some patients are allergic to contrast, if you are aware of this at the time of scheduling, please inform your scheduler. The technologist will also have you fill out a questionnaire prior to your scan to eliminate the possibility of an allergic reaction.
The exam usually lasts 10 minutes.
What can I expect after the exam?
Your scan will be read by a radiologist and a written report will be sent to your physician, who will contact you with results.