Test Details & Preparation
HRCT (high resolution computed tomography) scans of the chest are crucial in the evaluation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. A CT scan of the chest uses X-rays to obtain images of the lung tissue. The images are obtained in “slices” or thin views that are put together to form a picture. The slices of an HRCT are much thinner than with a standard CT scan giving a more detailed picture. These slices are great for looking at the lung tissue for nodules or masses but not for appreciating the fine details. HRCT scans take one millimetre slices. The thinner slices allow for a much more detailed analysis.
HRCT scans can be performed at outpatient imaging centres. There is usually minimal prep required and the imaging centre or doctor’s office will give you specific instructions when scheduling the test. It is a good idea to wear comfortable clothing and leave all valuables such as jewellery at home the day of the test.
The patient will be placed on a flat table that moves in and out of a round donut-shaped machine. HRCT scans do not use contrast so there is no need for an IV. The patient will be positioned so that their chest is in the scanner. A CT scanner is open, the patient is not placed in a tube or enclosed space. The technicians performing the test will leave the room prior to the scan starting to avoid the radiation but will be able to monitor the patient through a glass window and intercom system. The scan usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes. There are no restrictions following the test. You will be able to return to normal activities, eat as usual.
The results of the HRCT will be read by a radiologist. The images and the radiologist’s report will be sent to the ordering physician. Most physicians require their patients set a follow up appointment with them to review the results.