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Computed Tomography Scan


What do I need to know about a computed tomography scan?

A computed tomography (CT) scan uses x-rays to take pictures of your blood vessels, tissues, bones, or organs. It is also called a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.

How do I prepare for a CT scan?

Your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your CT scan. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything for 2 to 4 hours before your CT scan. Tell your healthcare provider if you think you are pregnant.

What will happen during a CT scan?

Your healthcare provider will ask you to lie on your back on a table. He may give you medicine to help you feel calm and relaxed. He may inject into an IV or ask you to swallow contrast dye to help a body part show up better. The table will be moved into an open space in the middle of the machine. You will need to lie still during the CT scan.

What are the risks of a CT scan?

The contrast dye used may cause an allergic reaction. You may get a rash, itching, or trouble breathing. If you are pregnant, a CT scan may be harmful to your unborn baby. Contrast dye may cause kidney problems and result in kidney failure. The radiation from a CT scan may increase your risk for cancer.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.