Queen Elizabeth Hospital Radiology Department Information Leaflet for Patients Requiring a CT Scan Patient Information Leaflet

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1 Queen Elizabeth Hospital Radiology Department Information Leaflet for Patients Requiring a CT Scan Patient Information Leaflet Page 1 of 8

2 Introduction Your Consultant has asked for you to have a CT scan. This leaflet is designed to give you some information about the CT scanner, to help you prepare for your scan and to give you some idea of what to expect when you attend. What is a C.T. Scan? C.T. stands for Computerised Tomography and is a special type of x-ray machine that can look at the various parts of your body including the brain, spine, chest, abdomen and pelvis. The information from the x-rays is recorded in a series of slice pictures. These slice pictures give detailed information of the inside of your body. What if I cannot attend for my appointment? You will be contacted by the CT Appointments team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with the details of your appointment. They will contact you either by telephone or letter. If your appointment time is not convenient it is essential for you to contact the CT Appointments team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital immediately so that a more appropriate time can be arranged. This will enable us to re-allocate valuable scanning time to another patient. How do I prepare for my scan? Eat and drink as normal, unless specifically told otherwise by the CT Appointments staff. Continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor. If possible try to wear clothing without metal zip fastenings or clips/buttons. If this is not possible a hospital gown and changing facilities are provided. If possible, try to leave valuables at home. I am a diabetic, does this change anything? Yes. The preparation details for the scan may change. Please ring the hospital and speak to a member of the CT Appointments team who will be able to advise you further. Page 2 of 8

3 I take Metformin (Glucophage/Avandamet) Tablets. Does this change anything? Yes. Metformin (also known as Glucophage or Avandamet) is most commonly taken by diabetic patients to control blood sugar, but is occasionally taken for other medical conditions. If you are taking Metformin (Glucophage/Avandamet), the preparation for your procedure may change. Please ring the hospital and speak to a member of the CT appointments team who will be able to advise you further. What happens before my scan? When you arrive in the Radiology department you should report to the main reception desk. A member of the reception staff will check your personal details. As well as confirming your identity this will ensure that our records are accurate and up to date. You will then be directed to take a seat in the main waiting area. If you are having a CT scan of your chest, abdomen or pelvis you may be asked to drink some fluid before the start of the scan. This will be either water or a very dilute x-ray dye mixed with sugar free orange cordial. This fluid will help to outline your stomach and small bowel. This helps us when we are looking at your scan pictures. This preparation may take up to one hour. When it is time for your scan a radiographer or a radiology department assistant will escort you to the CT waiting room. Depending on which area of your body is to be scanned, you may be asked to undress, in which case a hospital gown will be provided. Who does the scan? The person who carries out the scan is called a radiographer. This is the person who will explain the procedure to you and will position you correctly on the scan table. It is vitally important that you lie still for the duration of your scan. What if I am pregnant? CT scanning of pregnant women should be avoided whenever possible. Since X-Rays can harm unborn babies it is vitally important that you tell the radiographer, or radiology department assistant, if you are or could be pregnant. You must do this before the CT scan To avoid being accidentally exposed to x-rays, all females between the ages of 11 and 56 years, who are having a CT scan of the abdomen and/or pelvis, will be asked the date of their Page 3 of 8

4 last menstrual period (LMP). From this information, the radiographer will decide if there is cause for the CT examination to be postponed or if it is safe to continue. Is a CT Scan dangerous? Like all X-Ray machines, a CT scanner produces potentially harmful x-rays. Modern CT scanners, like the one at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, are designed to keep the radiation dose to the patient as low as possible. If your doctor has asked for a scan, then he or she will have decided that the benefit of having the scan, and the information that it gives, is greater than the risk of the small dose of radiation. What happens during a scan of my.? Head/Sinuses/Neck You will lie flat on your back on the scan table, with your head placed in a special headrest. Small foam pads may be placed beside your head. These will ensure that you keep still during the scan. We may also place a loose fitting band across your forehead. Again this is to help you to keep still. You will be moved headfirst into the scanner and when you are ready your scan will begin.. Chest Only You will lie flat on your back on the scan table. Your arms will be placed above your head so that they are away from your chest. You will then be moved feet first into the scanner and when you are ready your scan will begin. The radiographer will give you some breathing instructions via the intercom system on the scanner. Chest, Abdomen or Pelvis Shorty after you arrive in the radiology department, one of the radiology department assistants may give you some fluid to drink. This will be either water or a very dilute x-ray dye mixed with sugar free orange cordial. This fluid will help to outline your stomach and small bowel. This helps us with the interpretation of the scan pictures. This preparation may take up to one hour. Page 4 of 8

5 For the scan itself, you will lie flat on your back on the scan table. Your arms will be placed above your head so that they are away from your chest and abdomen. You will then be moved feet first into the scanner and when you are ready your scan will begin. The radiographer will give you some breathing instructions via the intercom system on the scanner. Arm or Leg You will lie on the scan table with your affected arm or leg resting on some small foam pads. These pads will help you to keep still during your examination. If you are having a CT scan of your hand, wrist or elbow you will be asked to lie on your tummy. For all other scans you will lie flat on your back. You will be moved into the scanner and when you are ready your scan will begin. For all of the above scans (Head/Sinuses/Neck, Chest, Chest/Abdomen/Pelvis, Arm or Leg) All that we ask of you is that you keep as still as possible during your scan. The scan table will move during the examination. You will also hear a whirring noise from the CT scanner. Some patients say it is similar noise to a washing machine. The radiographer can talk to you through an intercom system. This intercom system also allows you to talk to the radiographer. We may need to give you an injection of an x-ray dye as part of the scan. This is a colourless liquid that shows up your blood vessels and makes the scans easier to interpret. If we need to give you this injection the radiographer will insert a plastic needle, sometimes called a cannula, into a vein in your arm. During the injection of x- ray dye you may experience a warm flushed feeling. This feeling will only last a few seconds. How long will my scan take? Depending what part of the body you are having scanned the preparation for your scan may take up to one hour. The actual scan itself will take between 5 and 10 minutes. If you require an injection of x-ray dye as part of your scan you will have to wait in the CT waiting room for fifteen minutes after your scan. This is just to check that you are feeling ok after the injection. Page 5 of 8

6 After 15 minutes a member of the CT staff will remove the cannula and you are free to leave the department. Will it hurt? No. You will not experience anything to cause you discomfort. If you are uncomfortable lying flat on your back then the radiographer can put a pad behind your knees to help you to lie still. What happens after my scan? After your scan has finished the radiographer will not be able to tell you the results. The results will be sent back to the doctor who referred you for your scan, within 7 10 days of the completion of your scan. The Doctor will then write to you with the results or arrange for you to be seen in clinic. If you are an in-patient the results will be sent to the ward as soon as possible. The doctors on the ward may be able to discuss the findings with you. Can I drive home afterwards? Yes Can I eat and drink afterwards? Yes. You can eat and drink as normal after your scan. Is there an alternative to a CT scan? Yes. There are different kinds of scan such as Ultrasound, MRI and Nuclear Medicine scans. Each type of scan is useful for showing different areas of the body. Your consultant has decided that a CT scan would be the most useful in your case. Can I bring a relative or friend? Yes of course, but for reasons of safety they will not be able to accompany you into the CT scan room. Page 6 of 8

7 What happens if I need an ambulance to transport me to the Radiology Department? If you need an ambulance you will need to ring your GP s surgery and ask them to arrange one. You will need to give them at least 48 hours notice. However it would be helpful if you could inform the CT Appointments staff if you are arriving for your scan by ambulance as we can arrange for your appointment time to fit with ambulance arrivals. What if I have any questions? Should you have any questions regarding your appointment and/or preparation for your scan please contact the CT Appointments team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. As regards the scan itself, the radiographer who performs your scan will give a thorough explanation of the whole procedure. You will also be able to ask the radiographer any questions you may have about the scan. What if I have any suggestions or complaints? Should you have any worries or concerns, please make these known the radiographer performing your scan. Alternatively you may contact the Radiology Services Manager by letter to the address below The Radiology Services Manager Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust Queen Elizabeth Hospital Queen Elizabeth Avenue Sheriff Hill Gateshead Tyne & Wear NE9 6SX Useful Contact Details The telephone number for the CT Appointments team is CT Appointment staff are available between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Page 7 of 8

8 Information Leaflet: NoIL208 Version: 1 Title: Information for patients requiring a CT scan First Published: June 2009 Review Date: June 2011 Author: Dave Winthrop, Superintendent Radiographer (CT scanning) This leaflet can be made available in other languages and formats upon request Page 8 of 8

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