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CT (CAT Scan) Preparations

CTCT is an excellent diagnostic tool for many ailments in all parts of the body. CT is quick, safe, and less invasive than other diagnostic tools such as angiography and surgical biopsies. When we are not using contrast in CT, there is no preparation and the exams are usually completed in just a few short minutes. Oral Contrast is given as a drink to coat the bowel and usually consists of contrast mixed in a large glass of sugar free flavored water. After drinking the contrast we wait for an hour prior to scanning. IV Contrast is given through the vein to highlight the vessels in the organs being scanned. This requires the patient to be fasting as well as a blood test to make sure your kidneys are working well enough to filter the contrast from your blood stream. The technologist will ask you several questions prior to the scan to determine if your body can handle the contrast and decide which contrast is best for you.

Please consider the following guidelines when preparing for a CT scan.

  1. CT Arteriogram (Aorta, Renal, Carotid, Circle of Willis or other) requires: The patient should have nothing to eat or drink for a minimum of 3 hours prior to exam.
  2. CT Head without and with Contrast, CT Soft Tissue Neck, CT Chest with Contrast requires: The patient should have nothing to eat or drink for a minimum of 3 hours prior to the exam.
  3. CT Small Bowel Enterography requires: The patient should have nothing to eat or drink for a minimum of 4 hours prior to the exam.Volumen barium can be obtained from our office at #70 Doctors’ Park
  4. CT Abdomen and Pelvis with and without contrast requires: The patient should have nothing to eat or drink for 3 hours prior to the exam. The patient must drink a large glass of sugar free flavored water with contrast. This coats the bowel to make it easily distinguishable on CT.
  5. CT Urogram: The patient should have nothing to eat or drink for a minimum of 3 hours prior to exam. The patient should drink 16 oz. of water 1 hr. prior to the exam.
  6. Non-IV Contrast examinations do not require special preparation.

CT Patient Preparation Precautions:

  • All patients having a CT contrast exam will be screened appropriately. Creatinine/eGFR is to be obtained for patients at risk for reduced renal function including the following:
    • Age 65 years and older
    • History of multiple myeloma
    • History of renal disease, renal transplantation, renal carcinoma, renal nephrectomy
    • History of liver transplantation, hepato-renal syndrome
    • History of sickle cell anemia
    • Diabetes
    • Creatinine needs to be drawn within 30 days of the exam date.
  • Insulin Dependent patients whose preparation requires them to be NPO (nothing by mouth) should receive any modifications on their medication from their referring physician.
  • Diabetic patients taking Glucophage that receive IV contrast should follow these recommendations:
    • Discontinue medication immediately after the examination and for a time period of up to 48 hours.
    • The patient must contact their referring physician immediately after their CT exam to receive directions on when to restart the Glucophage.