What is CT Scanning?

A CAT scan is a test used by physicians to look at specific body organs, blood vessels or bone. The images are obtained by using an x-ray tube with a computer. The images produced by the scan are like a loaf of bread with a series of slices.

What Can You Expect During the CT Scan?

Depending on what exam you’re having, you may need to drink an oral contrast or receive an IV contrast during the exam. Our machine is shaped like a doughnut, not a tube. Most exams are done within 30 minutes. Your doctor will receive a report a day or two after your exam. Nothing special has to be done after the exam. Driving will not be impaired. The only exception is for patients having a biopsy, you’ll need a ride home after this exam.

For Your Personal Safety

  1. All patients 50 or above having an exam that requires the use of intravenous contrast will need laboratory tests including a bun and creatinine.
  2. All diabetic patients that receive intravenous contrast and are taking Glucophage, Glucovance, Metformin, Metaglip or Avandament will receive special instructions from the ordering physician. A patient should not take these medications for 48 hours after the exam. Your doctor will be notified that you received IV contrast and take one of these medications. They will instruct you on how to proceed with your medications.
  3. Patients with allergies to iodine may be premedicated. Please call the CT Department to get a prescription. Patients with severe allergic reactions (Anaphyulaxis) will not be given the IV contrast.

Instructions for you

A CAT Scan may be performed at Carteret Health Care or at our Outpatient Clinic on Arendell Street. Please take notice of your appointment location on the doctor's order.

Virtual Colonoscopy:

  • A few days before your exam, bring your doctor’s order and come to the Radiology Department to pick up a preparation kit
  • Your doctor will give you a cleansing prep
  • Upon arrival in the Radiology Department on the day of your exam, you’ll be asked to wear a hospital gown
  • A small rubber catheter is inserted into the rectum and air is used to outline the bowel
  • A scan is completed with you lying on your back, and a second scan is completed with you lying on your stomach
  • The procedure takes approximately 15 - 20 minutes
  • No injections are necessary for this procedure

CT Angiograms:

  • You may not eat or drink anything six hours prior to your exam
  • You can take medications with sips of water
  • No oral contrast is necessary
  • An IV is required as well as the use of X-ray dye
  • Exam should take about 30 minutes

Cardiac Scoring:

  • EKG leads are placed on your chest to determine when your heart is at rest
  • The scanner takes a specific set of images thru the heart
  • These images are sent to a post processing station to determine if there is any calcium in the cardiac vessels
  • No preparation is needed

CT Brain With and Without Contrast:

  • You may not have any food or drink six hours prior to the test
  • You can take medications with sips of water
  • Exam takes about 15 minutes
  • An IV is required as well as the use of X-ray dye

CT Brain Without Intravenous Contrast

  • You may eat or drink whatever you like
  • Exam takes about 15 minutes.

CT Abdomen and Pelvis with IV and Oral Contrast

  • Bring your doctor's order to the hospital’s Radiology Department or Imaging Center and pick up the oral contrast a day or two before your exam
  • Laboratory work such as BUN and Creatinine can be drawn no more than 14 days prior to your CT, you may choose to do it when you pick up Readi-Cat oral contrast. The laboratory is located in Patient Access/Registration by the Emergency Department
  • Refrigerating the Readi-Cat contrast prior to drinking it is recommended
  • For morning appointments – Drink 1 bottle at bedtime the night before the appointment. On the day of the exam, drink the second bottle 45 minutes prior to the appointment. All patients may take medications with small sips of water
  • For afternoon appointments – Patient may have a light breakfast by 6 am. Drink 1 bottle of contrast three hours before the appointment. Drink the second bottle one hour prior to the appointment. All patients may take medications with small sips of water
  • The exam should take about 30 minutes
  • An IV is required as well as the use of X-ray dye

CT Helical Scan for Renal Stone

  • You may eat or drink whatever you like prior to exam
  • Exam should take about 20 minutes

CT of the Chest with Intravenous Contrast

  • You may not eat or drink anything six hours prior to your exam
  • You can take medications with sips of water
  • The exam should take about 25 minutes
  • An IV is required as well as the use of X-ray dye

CT of Chest Without IV Contrast or High Resolution Scan

  • You can eat or drink whatever you like before the exam
  • Exam should take about 20 minutes

CT of Helical Chest for Pulmonary Embolis

  • You may not eat or drink anything six hours prior to your exam
  • You can take medications with sips of water
  • Exam should take about 25 minutes
  • An IV is required as well as the use of X-ray dye

CT Extremities (most are done without IV contrast)

  • You may eat or drink whatever you like prior to the exam
  • Please bring or send any x-rays that have been done at the doctor's office
  • Exam should take about 30 minutes

CT Maxiofacial and Soft Tissue of the Neck with IV Contrast

  • You may not eat or drink anything six hours prior to your exam
  • You can take medications with sips of water
  • Exam should take about 25 minutes
  • An IV is required as well as the use of X-ray dye

CT Guided Biopsy

  • Biopsy must be approved by Radiologist prior to scheduled date
  • You may not eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to your exam
  • You can take medications with sips of water
  • You’re required to be at the hospital one hour prior to the exam to get necessary laboratory work and complete paperwork
  • You’ll stay at the hospital for a couple hours after the exam for observation
  • Exam should take about an hour
  • You will need a driver to take you home

CT Spines

  • You may eat or drink whatever you like prior to the exam
  • Exam should take about 25 minutes

Your CT appointment

Please call if you have any questions:

Carteret Medical Center CT Department: 252-808-6169
Outpatient Clinic CT Department: 252-808-6010
Radiology Department : 252-808-6154
Scheduling: 252-808-6200

Our hours are from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday - Friday