Chest CT scans use radiation. The amount of radiation will vary based on the type of CT scan. On average, though, the amount of radiation will not exceed the amount you're naturally exposed to over 3 years. The radiation from the test is gone from the body within a few days.
Children are more sensitive to radiation because they're smaller than adults and still growing.
Exposure to radiation is associated with a risk of cancer. However, it's not known whether the amount of radiation from a chest CT scan increases your risk of cancer.
You and your doctor will decide whether the benefits of the CT scan outweigh any possible risks. Your doctor also will try to avoid ordering repeated CT scans over a short period.
The contrast dye used in some chest CT scans can cause an allergic reaction, such as hives or trouble breathing. The risk of this happening is slight. If you have an allergic reaction, your doctor can give you medicine to relieve it.
The most common contrast dye used in CT scans contains iodine. Tell your doctor if you're allergic to iodine.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Chest CT Scan, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
July 25, 2012
Heart CT scans may help emergency room personnel more quickly assess patients with chest pain
Adding computed tomography (CT) scans to standard screening procedures may help emergency room staff more rapidly determine which patients complaining of chest pain are having a heart attack or may soon have a heart attack, and which patients can be safely discharged, according to a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.