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CT scan patient information

Your understanding of the tests and treatments you receive is very important to everyone at Community Howard Regional Health System. Therefore, this information is meant to acquaint you with standard procedures followed in a routine CT scan. It provides you with the basic facts and information about this test. Read the material, share it with your family, and ask any clarifying questions of the nurse or technologist.


A computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan is a test in which horizontal sections of a body part are examined at various angles with an x-ray beam. A computer calculates the absorption of the x-ray beams, and these calculations are converted into an image on a computer screen. These pictures are also printed on x-ray film. A CT scan is valuable in diagnosing conditions not visible on conventional x-rays and may make other procedures such as exploratory surgery unnecessary. A spiral CT scan is a new technique that involves continuous movement of the patient through the scanner with the ability to scan faster and with higher definition of internal structures.


Please follow the prep information carefully as it will allow you and your physician to obtain the best possible exam. If your exam is not listed below, your exam does not have a specific prep to follow.

CT Pelvis Routine or Both CT Abdomen and Pelvis at the same time or CT Abdomen/Pelvis for Bowel Obstruction - Obtain 2 bottles of Redicat Prep from Radiology. Drink one whole bottle of Redicat the night before your exam. Drink 1/2 of the other bottle one hour before your scheduled exam. Bring the rest of the second Redicat bottle with you to your exam, and the CT technologist will inform you when to finish the bottle.

CT Abdomen Routine - Obtain 1 bottle of Redicat Prep from Radiology. Drink 1/2 of the bottle one hour before your scheduled exam. Bring the rest of the Redicat bottle with you to your exam, and the CT technologist will inform you when to finish the bottle.

Organ Biopsy using CT – Have nothing to eat or drink for 2 hours before you arrive for your biopsy. Following your biopsy, you will remain in Radiology for a minimum of 2 hours.

The following exams also have intravenous contrast that will be administered during your CT exam

  • CT Head with and without contrast
  • CT Abdomen - Aneurysm
  • CT Abdomen - Routine
  • CT Abdomen - Bowel Obstruction
  • CT Chest - Mass
  • CT Chest - PE study
  • CT Chest - Aneurysm
  • CT Chest - Dissection
  • CT Pelvis - Routine
  • CT Neck

Procedure for all CT exams

  1. Arrive at Community Howard Regional Health System’s Registration Department.
  2. You will be taken to the x-ray department by wheelchair, on a cart, or by walking there on your own.
  3. The technologist will help you position yourself on the CT table. He/She will
    also explain the procedure in more detail. If you are having a CT scan of your head, your head will be positioned in a special cradle to assist you in keeping your head still for the scan.
  4. If you have an injection of the contrast media, you may experience a warm sensation throughout your body. This will not be long lasting and usually is not very uncomfortable. If you develop any shortness of breath or itching, notify the technologist immediately.
  5. During the actual scanning process, you will be alone in the room but there is
    an intercom, which allows you to communicate with the technologist at all times.
  6. The table moves slightly with each scan. Simply relax and lie still. You may be asked to periodically hold your breath during various phases of the scan.
  7. As the equipment scans, you may hear the sounds of gears and motors. These are normal sounds that the machine makes while operating.
  8. Following the procedure, you will be free to leave the facility and resume normal activity. The radiologist will examine your CT scans and report the findings to your doctor who will then discuss them with you.

Your comfort during this procedure is very important to the staff at Community Howard Regional Health System. Please let the technologist know if there is something that can be done to make you more comfortable during this procedure. If you have other questions not answered here, please don’t hesitate to call the Imaging Services Department at (765) 453-8413. Thank you for allowing us to service your healthcare needs.

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