64-Slice CT – Computed Tomography
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT Scan) is a painless and fast diagnostic examination that combines X-ray with computer technology to create images or “slices” of the body. For some exams, three-dimensional, full-color representations are processed to show internal structures just as they appear in real life view. CT is used to obtain information about body organs and glands, such as liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, intestines, adrenal glands, thyroid, lungs and heart. It is also used for exams involving the sinuses, blood vessels, abdominal and pelvic cavities, bones and the spinal cord.
LPMI was the first imaging center in the community to utilize 64-slice CT. This advanced technology is capable of completing many exams in less than ten minutes. It has also allowed us to offer one of the more advanced cardiovascular CTA (angiography) imaging programs in the area.
CVCTA - Cardiovascular Computed Tomography Angiography
The introduction of 64-slice CT technology has had a significant impact on cardiovascular imaging. Increased imaging speeds reduce former limitations caused by heart and vessel motion, and enable ‘freeze-frame’ imaging for a wider range of heart rates. Improved image resolutions make views of even the fine arterial branches possible.
With CVCTA involving the heart, a contrast agent is injected before images are taken of the heart. In some cases a beta blocker may be required to slow heart and pulse rates enough to ensure that there is no blurring of images due to motion. You will be advised in advance if a beta blocker is necessary, and provided specific instructions for administering it.
Preparing for a CT Exam
Please let us know prior to your exam if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have diabetes, or if you are taking prescribed medications of any kind. If you are taking glucophage or glucovance, you must consult your doctor to find out if, and for how long, you must stop taking the medication prior to your exam. If you are allergic to iodine or latex consult your doctor to see whether this will cause any complications for the exam that he or she has ordered.
Some CT exams require that you do not eat or drink for 4 – 8 hours prior to your exam. For abdominal, kidney, and pelvic exams, a full bladder is required. You will be instructed to empty your bladder an hour before your exam, and then immediately drink 32 oz. of water. Please call the imaging center for clarification on your specific instructions.
- If your CT is a gastrointestinal study, you will be instructed to arrive 1 hour prior to your exam to intake a barium contrast agent that is required for this procedure.
- You will receive a telephone call from our staff to confirm your appointment.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing without metal zippers or snaps.
- Bring the written prescription your physician gave to you for this procedure.
- You may be asked to bring previous imaging studies of the body area to your appointment.
- Arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam to complete paper work and change into scrubs if necessary.
- Bring all valid insurance information and a valid photo id to your appointment.
- Depending upon your insurance, a co-pay may be collected at the time of your appointment.
- If your procedure requires sedation or pain medications, bring a driver to help you return home. You may be required to arrive early to your scheduled appointment to administer sedatives effectively.
During the CT Exam
- If your exam requires contrast, we will perform blood testing minutes before your exam to ensure that BUN and creatinine levels are adequate. We draw blood from the same I.V. line that we use to give the contrast agent. This service conveniently eliminates the need for an additional lab appointment and needle stick prior to the exam.
- An iodine contrast agent may be injected to enable the radiologist to more clearly distinguish healthy and unhealthy tissues. Contrast agents are generally safe, however please inform the technologist if you have ever had a reaction to iodine or any other contrast agent. Once the contrast is injected, you may feel a warm, flushed sensation and experience a metallic sensation in your mouth that will last for only a couple of minutes.
- You will lie on a cushioned table.
- In some cases a device called a coil may be placed around the area of the body being scanned to ensure proper alignment.
- The table will move though a doughnut-shaped gantry which houses the CT’s x-ray tube.
- As low dose x-rays are passed through the body at varying angles, images are acquired and processed by a computer.
- Depending on the type of exam, your CT scan can take anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes.
After the CT Exam
- When your exam is complete, your images will be interpreted by one of our radiologists who specialize in the specific area of the body that you had scanned.
- The radiologist will prepare a detailed diagnostic report to share with your physician.
- Your physician will consider this information in the context of your overall care and talk with you about the results.