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  CT Scan Exams

At XDUCL you will experience 64-slice CT Scanning
for speedy and accurate diagnosis.

The CT Scanner is a highly sophisticated X-Ray machine. The X-ray tube and detector rotate around the body producing X-Ray images as "slices", showing clear pictures of the internal organs. Older scanners produced one slice with each rotation, but today, more sophisticated units can produce over 320 or more thin slices with each rotation. Our 64 Slice scanner is ideal for general use. Speed, accuracy, range, and low doses of radiation are its advantages.

The thinner slices from the 64 slice scanner lend themselves to close evaluation in 3D. The result is more accurate, detailed and useful information being presented to your doctor. This means earlier diagnosis and a greater chance for cure.

Read more about CT scanning tests for:

Speak with your doctor about these tests or call X-Ray & Diagnostic Ultrasound Consultants Ltd for more information. No referral is necessary.

Here is a listing of the tests available at XDUCL using 64-slice Computed Tomography Technology.

 XDUCL employs 64-Slice Multi-Detector Row Technology for Scans of:

  • Brain
  • Eye sockets (orbits)
  • Sinuses
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Pelvis
  • Spine
  • Limbs

More advanced uses include Angiography of:

  • The brain
  • Carotid arteries
  • Pulmonary arteries
  • Aorta and Upper and Lower Limb arteries
  • Coronary Angiography

Other advanced applications include:

  • CT coronary artery calcium scoring
  • Virtual colonography
  • Virtual bronchoscopy
  • CT perfusion imaging of the brain for stroke detection

CT Scanning & Adult Heart Disease 

Your heart is a muscular pump which controls the circulation of blood through your body and is critical to life. It is a special muscle supplied by arteries called coronary arteries. When arteries become narrowed or blocked by a build up of cholesterol the blood flow to the heart muscle is cut off or severely limited. This results in a heart attack, as the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen and the nutrients necessary for its pumping action. If this happens you may experience severe chest, neck or arm pain as well as shortness of breath, even heart failure or possibly sudden death.

Who is at Risk for a Heart Attack?
In general if you are over 45 years old you are at risk for heart attacks; this includes postmenopausal women. Other risk factors include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Severe Stress
  • A family history of heart attacks

The Coronary Artery Calcium Score
This Test is a CT Scan of your heart, which detects calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. The build up of calcium in the arteries occurs as a result of cholesterol deposits and is called Atherosclerotic Plaque Disease. The amount of calcium build up has been shown to have a high predictive value for the occurrence of heart attacks.

The Coronary Artery Calcium Score is a completely non-invasive test, which does not require needles or iodine injection. It is a simple scan often coupled with the Coronary Angiogram, but can be done on its own for determining the risk of a heart attack. A calcium score of zero implies a very low risk of a heart attack. The more calcium deposits the greater the risk that you could have a heart attack.

The MDCT Coronary angiogram
This study shows the detail of the coronary arteries and demonstrates/highlights narrowed portions (strictures) and blockages as well as anatomic variations.

How is a The CT Coronary Angiogram performed?
The exam is performed on a Multi-Detector CT scanner. The CT Coronary Angiogram uses special computer software, which makes it possible to obtain sharp pictures of your heart in 6 to 8 seconds with only about ten minutes spent on the examination table.

While lying on the CT Scan table, you are injected with iodine containing intravenously. The table slides you into the scanner as the X-Ray tube circles your body and creates images of your heart and surrounding blood vessels, in slices. A computer then assembles the slices into images of the heart that reveal calcium and fat-filled deposits or plaques in the coronary arteries and above all blockages or narrowed areas. With this technology, evaluation of the heart is simplified.

Benefits of a CT Coronary Angiogram

  • This is a quick and accurate test for screening purposes
  • Other causes of severe chest pain can be excluded e.g. clots in the blood vessels of the lungs called pulmonary embolism as well as aortic dissection/ aneurysm - the ballooning and rupture of the aorta.
  • No radiation remains in a patient's body after a CT examination.
  • This is a patient friendly examination.

Risks

  • Occasionally some of the x-ray contrast material leaks into the surrounding tissue resulting in temporary swelling and discoloration.
  • The use of iodine represents a risk to those with allergies, including asthmatics. Therefore, such persons are given special medication to avoid allergic reactions. Rarely though, the allergic reaction could be fatal.
  • The CT scan is a sophisticated x-ray procedure, hence the risk of radiation. However, the dose is kept at a minimal level.

Since heart attack is the number one cause of sudden death in Jamaica, patients with risk factors should be more proactive in managing their health, and are encouraged to accept these tests as routine and necessary.

Virtual Colonography For Detection of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is one of the more common cancers in Jamaica and it affects men and women equally. The good news is that it is a slow growing cancer that can be cured if found early. Colon cancer develops from small growths in the colon called polyps. Polyps can remain harmless for a long time. However, when a polyp gets to 1cm in size it's time to act - to remove it. 4 out of 10 times a polyp 1 cm or larger is cancerous.

Who is at risk?

  • Persons 50 years and over,
  • Persons with a family history of colon cancer,
  • Patients with a prior history of polyps and blood in the stools.

Bleeding in the stools warrants a thorough search of the colon for polyps/cancer. Polyps are often present as 'blood in the stool.'

Screening for Colon Cancer is Recommended.
It is recommended that persons at risk should be screened for colon cancer every 3 to 5 years, beginning at age 50. The latest screening test for colon cancer is Virtual Colonography. It is accurate, fast and far more comfortable than the other tests.

How does Virtual Colonography work?
Virtual Colonography uses a Multi-detector CT Scanner and computer software to look inside your colon (the large intestines). It eliminates the need to insert a six-foot long tube via the rectum into the colon to see inside as is the case with the Conventional (Optical) Colonoscopy, or filling the colon with liquid barium as is done for a barium enema.

What Preparation is Required For The Test?
Over a 4-5 day period, before the test is conducted, patients need a cleansing of the bowel, which is all aimed at removing fecal matter from the colon to facilitate good pictures.

What happens during the test?
The test begins by introducing air into your colon using a small disposable flexible rubber tube placed in the rectum.  The Multi-Detector CT scanner then takes pictures of the colon while you lie comfortably on your back and then on your stomach. The virtual reality computer software then creates detailed pictures enabling the radiologist to see within your colon – just as with a conventional optical colonoscopy. Once the scans are completed you are able to resume your normal activity – it is easy.

Benefits of Virtual Colonography

  • Virtual Colonography eliminates the discomforts of a conventional/optical colonoscopy.
  • This minimally invasive test reduces the risk of perforation of the bowel, which is a well-known complication of optical colonoscopy.
  • This test is an excellent alternative for patients who have clinical factors that increase the risk of complications from colonoscopy, such as patients on treatment with a blood thinner or a severe breathing problem.
  • It is not subjective, as other physicians can review the saved images.
  • In addition to providing images of the colon, Virtual Colonography also shows surrounding organs and reveals pathologies in areas external to the colon.
  • There is no risk of transmitting infection like hepatitis and AIDS – a low but real risk associated with optical colonoscopy.

Risks

  • There is a very small risk that inflating the colon with air could injure or perforate the bowel.
  • CT scanning employs x-rays; hence the risks of radiation apply. It is not recommended for pregnant women because of potential radiation damage to the baby. Women should always inform their physician and x-ray or CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. In that situation the exam would be postponed

CT Scan of the Lung For Detection of Lung Cancer

Cancer of the lung and other parts of the respiratory tract, account for 11.8% of all cancer deaths in Jamaica. However, if lung cancer is detected early enough it can be cured. The symptoms of lung cancer do not usually show until the disease is advanced and by then the treatment outcome is very poor. The cancer must be found when it is very small and can be surgically removed.

Who is at risk for Lung Cancer?

  • Persons who are or have been heavy smokers and who are over 50 years old. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.
  • Persons who are exposed to second hand smoke.
  • Genetics can also play a role in the development of lung cancer; either by directly causing the cancer or by making one more susceptible to damage caused by environmental factors.

Screening for Lung Cancer is Recommended
One of the best ways to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking or stay away from an environment where you are exposed to second hand cigarette smoke.

If you are at risk of developing lung cancer you should do screening tests to detect this cancer early. The technology that has so far shown up more lung cancers at the curable stage than any other type of imaging is a Multi-detector CT Scan of the lung. 

Smokers do not have to wait until the symptoms of lung cancer begin, for example coughing up blood or shortness of breath, to get screened. Even persons who used to smoke more than one pack a day for ten years, but have stopped for some time, should go further to protect their health and get this test done.

How does the Multi-Detector CT Scan of the Lung Work?
First you lie down on the CT Scanner imaging table and a technologist will ask you to hold your breath while the images are taken. The Multi-Detector CT Scan machine rotates around your body and takes pictures of the entire chest in a few seconds. A computer then assembles the images. Abnormalities as small as a few millimeters can be seen on the pictures produced.

Benefits of a CT Scan of the Lung

  • The test takes very little time, no more than a few minutes and is not invasive.
  • Routine chest x-rays cannot see the entire lung, are less likely to pick up abnormalities as small as a few millimeters and usually only detect lung cancer when it is already at an advanced stage.
  • A major advantage of CT is its ability to image bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time.

Risks

  • As a result of the radiation dose, CT scanning is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women.
 
 

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