Chest CT

A low-dose chest CT produces sufficient image quality to detect many lung diseases and abnormalities using up to 65 percent less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT scan. This is especially true for detecting and following lung cancer. Other diseases, such as the detection of pulmonary embolism and interstitial lung disease may not be appropriate for low-dose chest CT. Your radiologist will decide the proper settings to be used for your scan depending on your medical problems and what information is needed from the CT scan. If your child needs to have a CT scan, the proper low-dose pediatric settings should be used.

Common Uses of the Chest CT

CT of the chest is used to:

  • Further examine abnormalities found on conventional chest X-rays.
  • Help diagnose the cause of clinical signs or symptoms of disease of the chest, such as cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or fever.
  • Detect and evaluate the extent of tumors that arise in the chest, or tumors that have spread there from other parts of the body.
  • Assess whether tumors are responding to treatment.
  • Help plan radiation therapy.
  • Evaluate injury to the chest, including the blood vessels, lungs, ribs and spine.

Chest CT can uncover various lung disorders such as:

  • Bronchiectasis
  • Diffuse interstitial lung disease
  • Emphysema
  • Inflammation or other diseases of the pleura, which covers the lungs
  • Lung cancer
  • Old or new pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis

Potential Lung Cancer Screening Tool

Because CT scans are able to detect very small nodules in the lung, chest CT is especially effective for diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest, most curable stage. As a result, two major clinical trials are underway to determine if CT scanning is helpful at reducing deaths from the disease and to study the benefits associated with the early detection of lung cancer by CT screening.

Depending on the results of this research, chest CT may become a screening tool for detecting lung cancer in current and former smokers as well as other individuals who have a high risk of developing lung cancer.

Sky Ridge offers a lung cancer screening program using low-dose spiral CT scans in high-risk individuals. Learn more about this program and determine if you may be a candidate for a lung cancer screening test>>