Imaging methods to examine the lungs include chest X-ray, low-radiation-dose chest Computed Tomography (CT) and standard-radiation-dose chest CT. Low-radiation-dose CT is appropriate for cancer screening because it has been demonstrated to be more sensitive than X-ray in detecting cancer, with less radiation exposure than standard chest CT. CT technology is used to detect pulmonary nodules, collections of abnormal tissue in the lungs that may be early manifestations of lung cancer. A chest CT scan is a more detailed type of chest x ray that takes many detailed pictures of your lungs and the inside of your chest. CT scans also are used to rapidly diagnose traumatic injuries and to guide a number of minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsies, catheter placement, fluid drainage and duct and vessel stenting. A CT scan is more likely to show lung tumors than routine chest x-rays. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, computed axial tomography scan (CAT scan), Heart CT scans may help emergency room personnel more quickly assess patients with chest pain, Get the latest public health information from CDC, Get the latest research information from NIH, Get the latest information and resources from NHLBI, NIH staff guidance on coronavirus (NIH Only), Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity. Because of this, it cannot see a lot of the soft tissue and tendons around the lungs. Early detection of pulmonary nodules through CT screenings has been shown to improve survival compared with patients not undergoing lung CT scan. If the test is not urgent, they may have you wait to do the test until after your pregnancy. Although the amount of radiation from one test is usually less than the amount of radiation you are naturally exposed to over three years, patients should not receive more CT scans than the number that clinical guidelines recommend. NHLBI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement, Customer Service/Center for Health Information. If cancer has spread to these areas, it will not show on a CT scan. In the CT scans of his lungs, white patches can clearly be seen. CT scan results are considered normal if the radiologist didn’t see any tumors, blood clots, fractures, or other abnormalities in the … You will be able to hear from and talk to the technician performing the test while you are inside the scanner. What Do CT Scan Results Mean? For assistance, ask a Nurse at Emory HealthConnection™ (404) 778-7777 or Find a Physician. While CT scans can be effective at detecting cancer in lung nodules, there are forms of cancer that will not show on a CT Scan. This study is located in New York, New York. Receive automatic alerts about NHLBI related news and highlights from across the Institute. Families-At-risk for Interstitial Lung Disease Study (FAR-ILD). A chest CT scan is a more detailed type of chest x ray. CT scans are sometimes referred to as CAT scans or computed tomography scans. A lung CT scan is used to diagnose and monitor diseases that may have a nonspecific appearance on conventional chest x-ray. Weifang Kong and Prachi P. Agarwal If you’re looking at bilateral organs, like your kidneys or the 2 lobes of the brain, compare the 2 sides to look for any abnormalities. Scans with and without a tracer / contrast agent - The following two pictures show a CT scan of the lungs with and without contrast agent. These nodules are often detectable by CT before physical symptoms of lung cancer develop. Lung cancer screening carries several risks, such as: 1. Because the risk of developing lung cancer is much greater than the added risk from a CT scan, and smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, we feel the benefits of CT screening for lung cancer in patients with a significant history of smoking outweigh the risks of radiation exposure. CT lung cancer screening has revolutionized medical imaging by providing more detailed information than conventional X-rays and, ultimately, offering better care for patients. A computer tomography (CT) X-ray scan shows the signature "ground glass" look of a severe COVID-19 infection, which is caused by fluid in the lungs. These images are more detailed than regular X-rays. CT Scans Can Detect Growths in the Lungs. You may feel some discomfort from the needle or, after the contrast dye is injected, you may feel warm briefly or have a temporary metallic taste in your mouth. If a nodule is concerning for cancer, further diagnostic testing will be recommended. 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