Computed Tomography (CT) Scans are x-rays enhanced by a computer to produce three-dimensional cross-sectional imaging of the body.
CT Scans are most commonly used for the following procedures:
- Comprehensive imaging of the thorax (chest) and abdominal/pelvic area
- Comprehensive imaging of the head/face, neck and extremities
- CT-guided fine needle aspirations and core biopsies
- CT-guided abscess/fluid drainages
- Cancer follow up imaging
- CT angiography with 3-D work stations
- Emergent outpatient and inpatient imaging
- Emergency Department (ED) imaging 24/7
Preparing for Your CT Scan
Many CT exams utilize non-ionic IV (intravenous) contrast (dye) in order to visualize vascular structures such as arteries, veins, liver, spleen, kidneys and bladder. Lab work may be required prior to your scheduled exam to ensure proper kidney function.
CT scans of the abdomen and/or pelvis frequently require an oral prep that will be drank slowly over 1 hour (abdomen CT) or 2 hours (abdomen/pelvis or pelvis only CT).
CVMC is one of the only community based hospitals in Vermont to utilize two CT Scanners:
- 16 slice Toshiba Aquilion RXL Scanner
- 32 slice Toshiba Aquilion VeloCT Scanner
Having two scanners drastically reduces equipment down time and outpatient wait times when the ED is experiencing high volumes of patients requiring CT scans.
VRad: Tele-radiology Service for Emergent CT Scans
CVMC utilizes a tele-radiology service for emergent CT scans when a Radiologist is not on site at the hospital. We upload the digital images of the CT scan to a tele-radiology service, who then assigns the exam to a Radiologist that is certified in that particular imaging modality. VRad is a U.S.-based company employing only ACR (American College of Radiology) certified Radiologists. Final reports are normally received in one hour or less of transmitting time.
Even with the reduction software, computed tomography (CT) still involves significant exposure to X-rays, a source of ionizing radiation. All forms of ionizing radiation, whether naturally-occurring or as part of a CT exam carry some degree of potential health risk. While these risks must never be ignored, they must also be seen in perspective. When performed appropriately, the medical value of CT imaging far outweighs the known risk. If you have any concerns about the radiation exposures from a CT scan please discuss your concerns with your health care provider.
Our CT technologists are committed to providing quality, compassionate care while being fully aware of safe radiation practices. We use child specific protocols when scanning young children. Our child specific protocols are based on patient weight and reflect lower doses than recommended by the American College of Radiology.
CT Scans at CVMC – Lower Dose Radiation – Faster Improved Diagnostic Images
- CT dose and safety is not a choice that a physician or patient should have to make. At CVMC we are committed to providing the best care with the latest in imaging technology on each of our scanners. To ensure we are offering patients the safest and fastest exams, CVMC has enhanced our existing Toshiba CT systems with new dose reduction software upgrades.
- Through the software upgrades, our Toshiba CT systems now feature AIDR 3D, industry-leading dose reduction solution. AIDR 3D incorporates significant system enhancements by reducing radiation dose compared with conventional scanning.
- In addition to AIDR 3D, the upgrade also included Dose Alert and Dose Notification, two software updates that improve technologist awareness of the radiation dose being administered to patients. New DICOM and IHE Dose Structured Reporting tools help the Radiologists manage and report dose accurately.
- With these software upgrades we have been able to offer new exams that reduce the dose even further.
- CT’s of the chest as a lung cancer screening tool, following the ACR approved guidelines.
- CT’s of the abdomen and pelvis as a follow up to previously diagnosed urinary tract stones.
Additional information about the radiation risk of X-ray and CT imaging may be found at the following websites:
- RadiologyInfo is a joint education resource maintained by the two largest American radiology associations, the RSNA and the ACR. Its page on radiation safety is a good starting point.
- Image Gently is a site dedicated to issues in children's imaging, maintained by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging.
- The ACR's page on Radiology Safety Resources is a more comprehensive catalog on the subject, including both patient-oriented educational sites, as well as white-papers and guidelines for the medical community.