CT, Computed Tomography, is a painless, imaging (x-ray) test that allows technologists to take a series of detailed pictures of almost any part of your body. 

A CT scanner is an imaging device that allows radiologists to see detailed pictures of the body, including the heart, coronary arteries andlungs. Capabile of also detecting blood clots, tumors, and evidence of stroke, a CT scanner’s advanced technology is a valuable tool for a physician in diagnosing conditions that might not be visible on a traditional x-ray.

Each picture is of an area, or “slice” of your body, that doctors can then examine either individually or in a 3-D image.  This advanced technology is a valuable tool for diagnosing conditions and abnormalities that might not be seen on traditional x-rays.

St. Clair Hospital’s CT services include a 64 Slice GE VCT XT Volumetric scanner that provides images with faster reconstruction, faster scan times and optimum resolution, often eliminating the need for invasive procedures.  It serves inpatients, outpatients and Emergency Department patients seven days a week.

What is CTA?

CTA, or Computed Tomography Angiography, is a special type of CT that allows doctors to see the blood flow  through your arteries and veins, using an iodine-based contrast material that you take orally or intravenously.  CTA can show abnormalities or blockages, including heart disease, pulmonary embolism, blood clots, aneurysm, stroke or other blood vessel disorders. The Hospital’s 64 Slice CT Scanner can scan coronary arteries in only five seconds, with optimum resolution. The highly defined and detailed information captured from its images can detect heart disease before a patient has any symptoms and can often spare a patient from undergoing an invasive procedure.

Scheduling a CT/CTA

To schedule your CT/CTA appointment, please call St. Clair Hospital’s Medical Imaging Department at 412.942.8150.  When you call to schedule, please have your prescription and any required authorization numbers available.

How Do I Prepare for the CT/CTA Exam?

  • You will be informed when you schedule your appointment if there are any special preparations needed for the type of CT that your doctor has ordered.  Please follow any instructions carefully and completely.
  • Some CT scans require that you fast prior to your scheduled appointment. 
  • You might be asked to drink an oral contrast agent prior to your scheduled appointment time and might also be administered an intravenous iodine injection during your CT
  • If you are having intravenous contrast, you will also be asked to increase your fluid intake prior to your appointment.
  • When you arrive for your appointment, you might be asked to change into a hospital gown and will be assigned a locker to hold your personal items.
  • Please leave jewelry and other valuables at home.

What Will Happen During the CT/CTA?

  • You will be asked to lie on a table that slides in and out of a doughnut shaped ring.
  • The technologist will be in the adjoining control room and you will be able to talk to each other throughout the procedure via an intercom.
  • It is important to remain still while the CT is being performed because any movement will cause the images to blur.
  • Certain types of CT scans might require the technologist to give you specific breathing instructions.
  • The length of your test will vary depending on what type you are having but the average length of time you will be on the table will be 10-15 minutes.

What Will Happen After the CT/CTA?

Our staff of board-certified Radiologists will review the images and a report will be sent to your personal physician. He or she will discuss the results with you.  If your physician has requested copies of the  images, please inform the technologist before you leave.

After your CT or CTA is finished, you may resume your normal activities. If you had contrast, you should increase your fluid intake for the rest of the day.  This will help flush the contrast from your body. 

Special Instructions

  • Because some CT scans and all CTA exams require the use of an intravenous iodine contrast agent, please inform the scheduler if you have had a previous reaction to contrast.
  • If the use of intravenous iodine is absolutely necessary and, depending on the type of reaction you have had, you might receive pre-medication instructions from a medical imaging nurse.
  • At the time of your appointment, you will be asked if you have any known kidney disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.  If you have a history of any of these conditions, your kidney function will be tested through a simple blood test that will check your Creatinine level.


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Mayo Clinic Health Information

Learn more about CT Scan from our Mayo Clinic Health Information section