Scan With Contrast

Chest CT Scan image

A Chest CT scan utilizes IV contrast to illuminate vessels and organs within the chest cavity.

Who performs the chest CT scan?

A CT technologist and radiologist will perform this procedure.

Where is the CT scan performed?

  • University Imaging Center
    University of Maryland Professional Building, Suite 110
    419 West Redwood Street
    Baltimore, Maryland 21201
    410-328-3225
  • University of Maryland Medical Center
    Department of Diagnostic Radiology
    22 South Greene Street
    Baltimore, Maryland 21201
    410-328-0152

What type of preparation is needed for this procedure?

Blood work, BUN and creatinine levels have to be drawn within 30 days. You should not eat or drink four hours prior to the procedure.

Why is a chest CT scan needed?

Chest CT Scan image

A contrast material is commonly injected into a vein to better define the blood vessels, arteries and organs inside your chest.

What can I expect before a chest CT scan?

Once you arrive in Radiology, you will register at the front desk. Please bring your insurance information with you. After registration, you will be escorted to a dressing room to put on a gown if you have any metal on your clothing. The Technologist will ask you if you have any allergies, especially to medications or iodine, and whether you have a history of diabetes, asthma, a heart condition, kidney problems or thyroid conditions. These conditions may be a higher risk of reaction to the contrast material or create potential problems eliminating the material from the patient's system after the exam.

What can I expect during this procedure?

You will be lying on the CT table and the technologist will start an IV line to administer the contrast media. There will be a scan of your chest without the contrast media. The contrast media will then be administered through your IV line and the scan will be repeated.

Some people report feeling a flush of heat and sometimes a metallic taste in the back of the mouth. These sensations usually disappear within a minute or two.

Some people experience a mild itching sensation. If it persists or is accompanied by hives, the itching can be treated easily with medication. In very rare cases, a patient may experience shortness of breath or swelling in the throat or other parts of the body. These can be indications of a more serious reaction to the contrast material that should be treated promptly, so tell the technologist immediately if you experience these symptoms. Fortunately, with the safety of the newest contrast materials, these adverse effects are very rare.

The scans are approximately 35 seconds each, but plan on being with us for about 20 minutes.

After the procedure,the results are sent to your doctor and you may resume normal activity. Drink plenty of clear liquids after the procedure.

Are there any risks with this procedure?

There is a very low risk that one may have from the exposure to radiation. CT emits a very low dose of radiation. There is also a very small risk of a reaction to the IV contrast.

Are there any alternatives to having a CT scan?

A MRI and X-ray are both alternatives to this procedure.

Please contact the Radiology Access Center at 410-328-3225 to schedule an appointment.