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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

CT scans

The CT department undertakes a full range of routine diagnostic scans in addition to a range of advanced techniques including cardiac CT, virtual CT colonoscopy and CT biopsies. The examinations are performed either on our 64 slice GE scanner or our 320 slice Canon scanner. The addition of the Canon CT scanner means we are now able to scan the heart in one heartbeat producing some of the highest quality images possible.

A CT scanner uses X-rays and enormously powerful computers to acquire and process the images of the head or body. The pictures are taken across the body in very thin sections (down to 0.5mm) and can then be manipulated using the workstations to create images in any direction and 3D virtual reconstructions.

On arrival to the CT reception, you will be greeted by our friendly clerical team. Our care support workers will collect you from the waiting room and take you to the changing room if required. For some CT scans the patient requires preparation prior to the scan. This can sometimes be to drink a litre of water prior to arriving in the department. Some people require a special contrast drink when arriving in the department which will be brought out to the patient by one of our radiographers. This should all be outlined in the appointment letter.

In many instances an injection of contrast dye will be given at the time of the scan to highlight the blood vessels and certain organs, thereby providing maximum information for the radiologists. The dye will be given through a cannula which will be put in before the patient goes in for the scan.

Because a CT scanner uses X-rays to produce images, it is acknowledged that a patient will receive a radiation dose; this fact will have been considered prior to the examination being carried out and the diagnostic information gained will justify the dose.

The CT department is open 8am-6pm 7days a week including bank holidays. There is a 24hour service for A&E and emergency in-patients.

Who is involved in your scan?

Radiographers – All radiographers are registered with the Health Care Profession Council and will have completed a 3year university degree in addition to a comprehensive induction program.

Care Support Workers (CSW) – CSWs assist the radiographers in preparing the patient for the scan and looking after the patient after the scan has finished.

Radiologists – Consultants who have specialised in radiology who are responsible for deciding exactly what scan the radiographers do from the information provided by the referring doctor and most importantly writing the report for the images taken which will be sent back to the referring doctor.

Radiology nurses – Assist with scans such cardiac CTs, virtual colonoscopy and biopsies.

Student radiographers – Poole hospital radiology department trains Portsmouth and Exeter university student radiographers. Students are supervised at all times but will assist with your scan.

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