Computed Tomography

CT scans, sometimes called “CAT” scans, use x-rays and a computer to make cross-section images of your body. A CT scan shows your body’s organs, bones and tissues in greater detail than regular x-rays. For your CT scan, you may receive a contrast-enhancing agent by IV, which helps produce an even clearer image.

St. Vincent Healthcare is one of very few hospitals in the country that use of the Toshiba Aquilion ONE dynamic volume CT system, a 320-slice CT scanner. This revolutionary and highly sophisticated technology allows doctors to diagnose a patient faster, easier and with a potential for significant reduction in radiation exposure for all patients - particularly for pediatric patients. This machine is able to provide a single, comprehensive exam that can replace a variety of duplicate tests and invasive procedures. By replacing several tests with this single exam, this system will allow physicians to treat at-risk patients immediately-saving resources and time in our patients' care.

"The Aquilion ONE provides a uniquely comprehensive exam that can radically reduce diagnosis time to just mere minutes for patients experiencing stroke, serious heart conditions and other life-threatening diseases, while also providing high resolution anatomic images," stated Dr. Rex Dietz neuroradiologist with Eastern Radiological Associates at St. Vincent Healthcare. "For our patients, detecting and treating disease at its earliest stages can significantly improve their quality of life."

The CT system utilizes 320 ultra-high resolution slices (0.5 mm in width) to image a 16cm area in a single rotation, which can take less than 350 ms. Sequential imaging produces a 4D clinical video with enough coverage to capture the entire brain or heart - demonstrating motions such as blood flow or cardiac wall motion.

For more information on CT Scans, visit RadiologyInfo

How does a CT scan work?

This imaging method produces a series of pictures that a computer reconstructs into cross-sectional views. The CT scanner is typically a large machine with a hole, or tunnel, in the center. You will lie on a table which slides into and out of this tunnel. The x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors rotate around you. The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is located in a separate room. 

CT imaging can be compared to looking into a loaf of bread by cutting the loaf into very thin slices. When the image slices are reassembled by computer software, the result is a very detailed multidimensional view of the body’s interior. St. Vincent Healthcare has a 64 slice CT scan.

How is the procedure performed?

CT scans are usually done on an outpatient basis. The technologist will position you on the CT exam table, usually lying flat on your back or possibly on your side or on your stomach. Straps and pillows may be used to help you maintain the correct position and hold still during the exam. 

A small dose of contrast material may be injected through an IV. You may be asked to hold your breath during the scanning. You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan; however, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times. When the examination is completed, you will be asked to wait until the technologist determines that the images are of high enough quality for the radiologist to read.