CT examinations are carried out by a trained MIT using sophisticated computer software and x-rays to gain cross sectional images of the body. The scanner itself looks like a giant ‘donut’ and having the scan involves lying on a cushioned table that is positioned within the ‘hole’ of the donut. Unlike an MRI scanner there is no ‘tunnel’. You will be asked to lie on a cushioned table and positioned so that the area of your body that is being scanned is in the best possible position. The table will move you automatically through the scanner. The scan itself is very short, usually taking only a few minutes.
Preparation: There are specific preparation needs for a CT scan depending upon what area of the body is being scanned. You will be provided with information relevant to the sort of scan you are having, at the time of booking your appointment.
You may have to arrive early for your scan and drink some liquid that aids the radiologists in interpreting your images. Sometimes you will be provided with some liquid and asked to drink this at home prior to coming for your scan.
Generally speaking, having a CT is quick and easy. Some CT scans are more involved. These are CT Colonography, Angiography or joint injections.
Contrast Media: Sometimes an injection of Contrast Media is needed to be able to visualise specific areas of the body. If you have allergies or breathing difficulties you need to let the staff know at the time of making your appointment.
CT Coronary Angiography is an x-ray examination using a CT scanner to look at the vessels that surround the heart. To show the vessels clearly you will need to have an injection of x-ray contrast into a vein in your arm though an IV leur. You may also need some heart medicine to make sure you have a slow, steady heart beat for the scan.
You will not be able to eat or drink anything except for water for four hours before your scan.
Please continue with your normal medications the day of your scan.
Do not exercise or smoke the day of the scan.
AVOID any chocolate or drinks with caffeine (eg tea, coffee, coke, ‘V’, Red Bull) for 12 hours before the scan, as caffeine will increase your heart rate. You must also avoid any Viagra or Cialis for 48 hours before your scan.
If you are diabetic, please ask your physician how to adjust your medication for the day of the scan.
Do not apply any lotions or powders to your skin the day of the scan.
Advise the nurse if you are pregnant or allergic to iodine contrast.
Please bring a list of any current medications that you are taking with you to your appointment.
Following the procedure, you will need someone to drive you home.
What to expect during your scan:
Please wear a loose fitting top or you may choose to change into one of our gowns.
Your blood pressure and pulse will be taken and an IV leur will be inserted into a vein in your arm (for the contrast).
You may be given medication to regulate your heart rate before the scan. During this time your heart rate will continue to be monitored. Sometimes after an hour, a further tablet may be required.
In the scan room, four heart leads will be placed on your chest to monitor your heartbeat during the scan. We will go through breathing instructions with you.
The Doctor may need to give you an injection of heart medicine through the line in your arm. This will stabilise and slow your heartbeat so that we can get pictures of your heart.
The approximate time for the examination is 30 minutes, but please allow up to 2 hours for this appointment. We will need to take a medical history and monitor your heart rate and blood pressure before the scan.
If you are a diabetic, please inform us when confirming your appointment.
Please tell us if there is any chance you could be pregnant.
Please tell us if you think your weight exceeds 160kg.
Following your scan:
You may continue with all normal activities and eat and drink as usual.
Your scan will be reported by a Consultant Cardiologist and a Consultant Radiologist. The report and results of the scan will be sent to your referring doctor within 2-3 working days.
CT colonography is a CT scan to look at the colon, or large bowel.
New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of bowel cancer in the world. If caught early this is a curable disease. Most bowel cancers start as polyps. Polyps are growths arising from the surface of the bowel that may grow into cancers.
The main purpose of CT colonography is to look for cancer or large polyps in the large bowel. CT colonography is also an excellent test for diagnosing diverticulitis (where pouches develop in the wall of the colon) or as investigation if you have symptoms suggestive of bowel problems. Another reason to have a CT colonography is if you have had a difficult or incomplete colonoscopy when the whole bowel may not have been completely or confidently assessed.
Preparation: In order to study the large bowel, some preparation is required to cleanse the bowel.
During the CT colonography test, the bowel is filled with carbon dioxide. This causes it to expand so that the inside wall of the bowel can be seen on the CT scan images. After the CT scan is completed, computer software allows the radiologist to analyse the colon. If a cancer or significant sized polyp is found, a further test called colonoscopy is recommended to take a biopsy (a small tissue sample) or remove a polyp. CT colonography is the safest way of examining the large bowel and it does not require sedation.
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