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Types of Chest CT Scans

A CT scanner is a large, tunnel-like machine with a hole in the center. During a chest CT scan, you lie on a table as it moves small distances at a time through the hole.

An x-ray beam rotates around your body as you move through the hole. A computer takes data from the x rays and creates a series of pictures, called slices, of the inside of your chest.

Different types of chest CT scans have different diagnostic uses.

High-Resolution Chest CT Scan

High-resolution CT (HRCT) scans provide more than one slice in a single rotation of the x-ray tube. Each slice is very thin and provides a lot of details about the organs and other structures in your chest.

Spiral Chest CT Scan

For this scan, the table moves continuously through the tunnel-like hole as the x-ray tube rotates around you. This allows the x-ray beam to follow a spiral path.

The machine's computer can process the many slices into a very detailed, three-dimensional (3D) picture of the lungs and other structures in the chest.

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Chest CT Scan Clinical Trials

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

January 01, 2011 Last Updated Icon

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.