CT Chest Cat Scan Quick Reference Guide for Patients

A chest CT scan is a detailed imaging study of the entire chest, from the lung apices to the adrenal glands. It is an excellent exam to look at the lung parenchyma, the hilar & mediastinal structures, as well as the pleura, bones & soft tissues. It can be used to further evaluate an abnormality seen on other imaging test, such as a CXR, or to further evaluate patient’s symptoms, such as persistent cough, hemoptosis, shortness of breath, chest pain or other chest related symptoms. It is commonly used to evaluate lung nodules and tumors, as well as to evaluate infections, emphysema, interstitial disease, chronic lung disease, bronchiectasis, pleural disease, and traumatic injury.

Guilford Radiology offers a Low Dose Chest CT, which is about 1/3 the dose of a Routine Chest CT. This Low Dose Chest CT is only done without contrast.

Patient Preparation 

For CT scans without contrast: no preparation.

For CT scans with contrast:

Patients must stop Metformin (Glucophage) for 48 hours after the administration of intravenous contrast. A normal creatinine must be drawn prior to resuming medication.

Creatinine levels needed on all patients over 60 years old or any patient with a history of renal insufficiency, within 60 days of exam.

Nothing by mouth for two hours prior to the exam. 

CPT Codes

Patient Weight Limit

Our CT Scan tables have a weight limit of 660 pounds.

Did your doctor order this exam?

General Information about CT Scanning

What is CT scanning?

CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images of the inside of the body. These cross-sectional images are then examined on a computer monitor by a radiologist. They also can be printed or transferred to a CD. CT scans of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. Using specialized equipment and expertise to create and interpret CT scans of the body, radiologists can more easily diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, appendicitis, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

There has been considerable work done recently on radiation dose from CT scans. At our offices, our CT scanners adjust the radiation dose for each patient to use the lowest possible dose. 

How does the procedure work?

In many ways CT scanning works very much like other x-ray examinations. Different body parts absorb the x-rays in varying degrees.

In a conventional x-ray exam, a small burst of radiation is aimed at and passes through the body, recording an image on photographic film or a special image recording plate. Bones appear white on the xray; soft tissue shows up in shades of gray and air appears black.

With CT scanning, numerous x-ray beams and a set of electronic x-ray detectors rotate around the patient, measuring the amount of radiation being absorbed throughout his/her body. At the same time, the examination table is moving through the scanner, so that the x-ray beam follows a spiral path. A special computer program processes this large volume of data to create two-dimensional cross-sectional images of the body, which are then displayed on a monitor. This technique is called helical or spiral CT.

The CT scanners at our offices are multidetector scanners, allowing thinner slices to be obtained in a shorter period of time, resulting in more detail and additional view capabilities. Our scanners are so fast that they can scan through large sections of the body in just a few seconds. Such speed is beneficial for all patients but especially children, the elderly and critically ill. For children, the CT scanner technique will be adjusted to reduce the radiation dose. For some CT exams, a contrast material is used to enhance visibility in the area of the body being studied.


If you have any questions or concerns about your procedure, feel free to call us at 203-453-5123 or ­contact us online.

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