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Why is a CT scan of the chest performed?

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Quick Answer

A CT scan of the chest is performed to rule out or confirm a suspected diagnosis of the lungs. CT scans can provide detailed images of many different types of tissue including lung tissue, according to NHS choices.

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Full Answer

It may be decided to carry out a chest CT scan if the patient is showing symptoms related to lung disease, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

A CT scan (or computerised tomography scan) is a painless and non-invasive procedure. The amount of time a CT scan takes varies between individuals depending on factors such as the size of the person, but generally takes around 10 minutes, according to NHS choices.

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, there are several different types of lung problems that a CT scan can pick up such as tumors, blood clots, fluid around the lungs and pneumonia. All of these can be fatal if not treated early enough, reports the American Lung Association.

The scan uses very detailed X-rays to produce images of structures inside the body. Results are not available immediately, as the images need to be analyzed and reviewed by a specialist. Lung disease is taken very seriously, as lungs are organs responsible for providing the body with oxygen, which affects the entire body, states the American Lung Association.

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