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Computed Tomography (CT)


Computed tomography (CT) is a test that combines X-rays and computer scans. The result is a detailed picture that can show problems with soft tissues (such as the lining of your sinuses), organs (such as your kidneys or lungs) and bones.

St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute provides exceptional diagnostics for our heart and vascular patients. Our physicians use the latest technology to ensure an accurate diagnosis so we can provide you with the best course of treatment available.

What To Expect During A CT Scan

The test may take 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the part of the body being scanned and whether contrast (a liquid that improves the image) is used.

Before the scan:

  • You may be asked to change into a hospital gown
  • You may be given a special dye called contrast either through an intravenous line (IV) or by injection

During a CT scan you will lie on a table that slides into the CT scanner. The technologist will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds during your scan.

You may need to wait briefly while your images are being reviewed. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.

After the test, you can go back to your normal diet and activities right away. Any contrast dye will pass naturally through your body within a day.

Preparing For A CT Scan

Follow any special instructions that your doctor provides you with. Also:

  • Be sure to mention the medications you take and ask if it is okay to take them before the test
  • If instructed, stop eating and drinking 8 hours before your CT
  • If instructed, drink contrast dye 8 hours before your CT
  • Arrive on time to check in