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The Diagnostic Importance of CT Scan 

by Abdus Subhan
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A CT scan is an acronym for computed tomography. Computed tomography is an imaging technology that operates on the radiation principle. The ionising radiations help create slices of the internal structure of the body, the slices are cross-sectional images produced of internal structures including blood vessels, bones, and other soft tissues. The CT scan produces images in a greater resolution than the traditional X-ray system. 

A CT scan is otherwise also known as a CAT Scan or the computed axial tomography.

The CT scan images containing a diagnostic value are capable of showing internal structures that can help your doctor to diagnose and determine various diseases like-

  • Cancer of various organs 
  • Tumours present in different parts of the body
  • Blood clots
  • Diseases of the heart
  • Fractures
  • Appendicitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Stones in the kidney or gallbladder
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal bleeding 

The CT scan is the most commonly used scan in case of an emergency. The scan can be conducted as a contrast-based study and as a non-contrast-based study also. The cost of CT scan are lower than contrast scans. Both the scans have different indications

Uses of contrast-based CT study

  • Diverticulitis
  • pulmonary embolism
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancer staging
  • Acute appendicitis

Uses of non-contrast-based CT study

  • Kidney stones
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Swelling in tissues
  • Injury to arm and leg
  • Lung diseases
  • Closed head injuries
  • Acute stroke

In contrast-based studies, you will be given an injection of contrast dye. The contrast dye can be given through an intravenous route or oral route, mostly it is administered through an intravenous route. The contrast helps produce more defined images. For getting a contrast-based study, you will be guided to not eat anything 3-4 hours prior to the test. The best diagnostic centre always guides the correct path to get through the test.

Different Advancements in the CT Department Namely

  • High-resolution CT (HRCT)
  • Helical or spiral CT 
  • Ultrafast CT (electron beam CT)
  • Computed tomography angiography (CTA)
  • Hybrid PET-CT (positron emission tomography and computed tomography)

CT Scan can Pose Certain Risks  

  • Radiation Based Risks- The CT scan uses ionising radiation to produce images of the internal structures of the body, but the radiation can prove to be harmful in case you are pregnant. The radiation can penetrate through your skin and cause damage to the DNA structure of your and your baby. These DNA defects can lead to congenital abnormalities in the baby. 
  • Contrast Based Risks– If contrast is being used during the scan, it can cause allergic reactions in some people. The allergic reaction symptoms start by representing swelling, itching, and redness at the site of injection. In rare instances, the allergic reaction can progress to a life-threatening condition called anaphylactic shock. It can only progress to such life-threatening conditions when the initial symptoms of allergy are ignored. You should inform your healthcare centre or doctor as soon as you start developing the first symptom of allergy. Contrast dye can also interfere with the functions of the kidney if you already possess some kidney diseases, these diseases can sometimes lead to kidney failure. This is why it is important to give a detailed medical history beforehand.

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