Hello, I’m Dr. Shawn Teague, a radiologist at National Jewish Health in Denver. I’d like to talk with you about computed tomography of the chest or C-T of the chest.
Chest C-T uses special x-ray equipment with or without an injection of contrast material to evaluate abnormalities of the chest. CT may be used to help diagnose the cause of unexplained cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or fever. It is also used to evaluate various lung disorders. Because chest C-T is able to detect small lung nodules, it is very effective for identifying potential lung cancer at an early stage when it is most curable.
If you’re scheduled for a chest C-T, there are several things you can do to prepare.
First, discuss any recent illnesses and medical conditions with your doctor. Tell your doctor about all the medications you’re currently taking and whether you have any allergies. If you have a known allergy to contrast material, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. Also, be sure to inform your doctor and the CT technologist if there is any possibility you might be pregnant.
You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for a few hours before the exam. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and leave any jewelry at home.
You may have some concerns about C-T scanning. However, it’s important to consider the benefit to your health. While C-T scanning does use radiation, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs any risk.
For more information about chest C-T, visit Radiology Info dot org.