What happens before a computed tomography (CT scan) of the chest?

Before a computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) of the chest, a noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedure:
  • Your physician will explain the chest CT procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have.
  • If your procedure involves the use of contrast dye, you may be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
  • Notify the technologist if you have ever had a reaction to any contrast dye, or if you are allergic to iodine.
  • Generally, there is no fasting requirement prior to a CT scan, unless a contrast dye is to be used. Your physician will give you special instructions ahead of time if contrast is to be used and if you will need to withhold food and drink.
  • Notify the technologist if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
  • Notify the technologist if you have any body piercing on your chest and/or abdomen.
  • Dress in clothes that permit access to the area or that are easily removed.
  • Based upon your medical condition, your physician may request other specific preparation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.