Useful websites

 

Jargon buster

 

Radiology (Xray)

CT Scan

CT Appointments - RVI: (0191) 282 4330; Freeman Hospital: (0191) 223 1012


IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

This web page is designed to give you some information about the CT scanner, to help you prepare for your scan and to give you some idea of what to expect when you attend.

 

 

What is a C.T. Scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

C.T. stands for Computerized Tomography and is a special type of x-ray that can look at various parts of the body including the brain, spine, chest, abdomen and pelvis.  The information from the x-rays is recorded in a series of cross sectional pictures or scans that can be built up into a three dimensional image of the area being examined.

 

 

Who performs the scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

The person who carries out the scan is called a Radiographer and will explain the procedure to you and show you how to position yourself.  It is important that you lie still for the duration of the scan.

Do I need any special preparation before the examination?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Eat and drink as normal, unless specifically told otherwise.
  • For CT scans of the heart, please do not eat or drink anything containing caffeine for 4 hours before your scan e.g. tea, coffee, coca cola.
  • Continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor
  • If possible try to wear clothing without metal zip fastenings or clips. If this is not possible a hospital gown and changing facilities are provided.
  • If possible, try to leave personal valuables at home.

I am a diabetic. Does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]

Yes. The preparation procedure may change. Please ring the appropriate help-line telephone number (as below) at the hospital you are attending and speak to a member of the medical staff (see next question also).

  • Royal Victoria Infirmary, tel: 0191 282 5627 (8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman Hospital, tel: 0191 223 1012 (8.30am-5.00pm) 

I take Metformin (Glucophage, Avandamet) Tablets. Does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]

Yes.  Metformin (Glucophage, Avandamet) is most commonly taken by diabetic patients to control blood sugar, but occasionally is taken for other conditions.

If you are taking Metformin, your preparation for the procedure may change.  Please ring the appropriate help-line telephone number, as above, and speak to a member of staff, who will be able to advise you. 

What happens before my scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

When you arrive in the department you should report to the Radiology Reception desk, where your personal details will be checked to ensure that our records are accurate and up to date. You will then be directed towards the CT waiting area, where a nurse or radiographer will welcome you and also, explain the scanning procedure to you. The nurse or radiographer will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your scan.  Depending on which area of your body is to be scanned, you may be asked to undress, in which case, a gown will be provided.  You may also be asked to drink some fluid prior to the start of the scan.

 

 

What if I am pregnant?Show [+]Hide [-]

CT scanning of pregnant women should be avoided whenever possible. 

 

If you think you may be pregnant it is very important that you tell the nurse or radiographer before your scan. To avoid accidental irradiation, all females between the ages of 11 and 55 years are asked the date of their last menstrual period (LMP). From this information X-ray staff will decide if there is cause for the CT examination to be postponed or if it is safe to continue.

What if I am pregnant?Show [+]Hide [-]

CT scanning of pregnant women should be avoided whenever possible.

 

If you think you may be pregnant it is very important that you tell the nurse or radiographer before your scan.  To avoid accidental irradiation, all females between the ages of 11 and 55 years are asked the date of their last menstrual period (LMP).  From this information X-ray staff will decide if there is cause for the CT examination to be postponed or if it is safe to continue.

 

 

What happens before my scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • When you arrive in the department you should report to the Radiology Reception desk, where your personal details will be checked to ensure that our records are accurate and up to date.
  • You will then be directed towards the CT waiting area, where a nurse, radiographic assistant or radiographer will welcome you and also, explain the scanning procedure to you.  
  • The nurse or radiographer will go through a check list with you and will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your scan. 
  • Depending on which area of your body is to be scanned, you may be asked to undress, in which case, a gown will be provided. 
  • You may also be asked to drink some fluid prior to the start of the scan.

What does the examination involve?Show [+]Hide [-]

The examination differs depending upon which area of your body is being examined.

For head and neck CT scans:

  • You will lie on your back on the scan table and your head will be positioned in a special headrest.
  • Small pads will be placed around your head.
  • You will be moved into the scanner and when you are ready your scan will begin.

For chest CT scans:

  • You will lie on your back on the scan table.
  • Your arms will be placed above your head away from your chest.
  • Depending upon the type of scan we have been asked to perform, electrocardiogram (ECG) stickers/leads may be placed on your chest.
  • You will be moved into the scanner and when you are ready we will give you some breathing instructions. Then your scan will begin.

For heart CT scans:

  • Please do not eat or drink anything containing caffeine for 4 hours before your scan e.g. tea, coffee, coca cola.
  • You will lie on your back on the scan table.
  • Your arms will be placed above your head away from your chest.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) stickers/leads will be placed on your chest.
  • You may also be given tablets or an injection of a drug (beta blocker) to lower your heart rate in preparation for your scan. This allows us to see the heart vessels more clearly. If you are given an injection of beta blocker during your scan, you will have to stay in the department for at least 30 minutes after your scan. Your blood pressure and heart rate will be checked before you leave the department.
  • You will be moved into the scanner and when you are ready we will give you some breathing instructions. Then your scan will begin.
  • An injection of a colourless x-ray dye is often given into a vein in your arm during the scan to help us with the interpretation of the scan pictures. 

For abdomen CT scans:

  • Shortly after arrival the nurse will give you some fluid to drink. This is a very dilute x-ray dye that outlines your stomach and small bowel. This helps us with the interpretation of the scan pictures. This preparation of your abdomen may take up to one hour.
  • You will lie on your back on the scan table.
  • Your arms will be placed above your head away from your chest.
  • You will be moved into the scanner and when you are ready we will give you some breathing instructions, and then your scan will begin.

For arm or leg CT scans:

  • You will lie on the scan table with your affected arm or leg immobilised with small foam pads.
  • You will be moved into the scanner and when you are ready your scan will begin.

For all above scans (head/neck, chest, heart, abdomen, arm/ leg)

  • All that is expected of you while your scan is being performed is that you keep as still as possible. 
  • The scan table and scanner gantry (the large doughnut shape) will move during the scan. 
  • The scanner makes a noise similar to your washing machine.
  • The radiographer can talk to you through an intercom and you can also talk to them. 
  • An injection of a colourless x-ray dye may be given into a vein in your arm.  This helps to show up blood vessels and makes the scan easier to interpret.  The Radiographer will have gone through a check list with you and asked you if you have any allergies or reactions to the x-ray dye.  If you do react to the x-ray dye, please ensure that you have informed the Radiographer or Nurse prior to your scan.

How long will my scan take?Show [+]Hide [-]

Preparation may take up to an hour. Scan time can be anything between 5-30 minutes.

 

 

How does it feel?Show [+]Hide [-]

You should not experience anything to cause any discomfort. However, if you are given an injection of x-ray dye you may get a warm sensation all over your body and a sensation like you are passing water. If you get these sensations, they will pass within 30 seconds. The radiographer will explain this to you when you attend for your appointment.

 

What happens after the scan? When will I get my results?Show [+]Hide [-]

After your scan has finished we will not be able to tell you the results as the reporting Radiologist or Radiographer will need to study the images carefully. If you have come from home, the results will be sent back to the doctor who referred you for your scan. This process takes approximately 2 weeks, so unless other arrangements have been made you should expect to hear something after this time.

If you are undergoing planned investigations on a ward, the result will be sent to the ward as soon as possible. The doctors on the ward may be able to discuss the findings with you.

 

Can I drive home?Show [+]Hide [-]

Yes.

 

I need an ambulance/transport. Do you arrange it?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you need an ambulance/ transport, you should ask your GP Surgery to arrange it. You will need to give them three working days’ notice. Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only.

 

What are the benefits of having a CT scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

This examination will help us make the correct diagnosis so you will be able to be given the correct treatment.

 

What are the risks of having a CT scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

Like all X-ray machines, a CT scanner produces potentially harmful X-rays. Modern equipment is designed to keep the dose to patients as low as possible. If your doctor has asked for a scan, then he or she will have decided that the benefit of having the information that the scan gives, is greater than the risk of the small dose of radiation. Since X-rays can harm unborn babies, if you are, or could be pregnant, please tell the radiographer or nurse before you have the scan. This is very important.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment?Show [+]Hide [-]

If your appointment time is not convenient please contact the relevant hospital department so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to reallocate valuable scanning time to someone else.

  • Freeman X-ray Appointments, tel: 0191 223 1012 (8.30am-5.00pm)
  • RVI X-ray Appointments, tel: 0191 282 5627 (8.30am-5.00pm)

Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. 

The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.

Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you. All information is stored securely. It is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.

You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:

What if I have any comments or suggestions?Show [+]Hide [-]

Should you have any suggestions or concerns, please make these known to the person conducting your examination or by letter addressed to the hospital that you are attending your examination:

The Departmental Manager                     The Departmental Manager

X-ray Department Level 3                          Main X-ray Department

Royal Victoria Infirmary                              Freeman Hospital

Queen Victoria Road                                  High Heaton

Newcastle upon Tyne                                 Newcastle upon Tyne 

NE1 4LP                                                        NE7 7DN

Tel: 0191 2821099                                    Tel: 0191 2821099

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm

All Newcastle Hospitals: Switchboard Tel: 0191 233 6161 (24 hours)

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS.  You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email northoftynepals@nhct.nhs.uk.

Map details: Due to the transformations of the Newcastle Hospitals, please go to the Trust web site to check for progress updates:

Web site – http://www.newcastle-hospitals.org.uk/patient-guides/index.aspx

This patient information is available in alternative formats for people with visual impairments or partial vision. Please ring the X-ray department you are attending for your appointment and ask the receptionist to send you an alternative print-size leaflet.

Information produced by:

Sharon Iles, Superintendent Radiographer

Reviewed: November 2013

Next Review: November 2016

© Copyright Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2017 Site by TH_NK