Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
CT Scan common?
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CT Scan common?

My mother was diagnosed (after CXR) with pneumonia after suffering from severe back pain (no other significant symptoms).  After being treated for over 2 weeks, with 2 different antibiotics, they took another CXR because her pain had not imporoved.  The Dr. determined that the spot on the lung hadn't changed, was worried there may be something under the infection, and thus wanted to have a CT Scan done ASAP.  Is this a normal procedure after such a short time?  I should also say that she is a survivor of breast cancer and has been a smoker for appx. 50 years.  I am wondering how common it is to have CT scans done for pneumonia - or do they suspect cancer or something other than pneumonia?  Thank you.
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Pneumonia is generally best diagnosed by chest x-ray in addition to a thorough examination.  Often a follow-up chest x-ray is done to be sure that the pneumonia has completely gone away.  After being treated with 2 different antibiotics, there should have been a change in the spot on your mother
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Absolutely. The chest xray can tell us only so much. Dont forget, the xray is 2 dementional. As clinicians, we know the correct landmarks. But when we see something out of the ordinary, we compile the patients history and try and determine what the abnormailty may be. Whether its a spot, a hazy opacity, a squiggly line, or what ever. Regardless, these things can be hidden or superimposed by organs in the chest. The CT scan is like an xray, but it uses many slices (perpendicular). This was, we can pinpoint where the anamoly is and even get a more specific diagnosis.

The chest CT is completely painless. And should take more than 15 minutes. (The scan itself is actually 5 minutes, but there is preperation, etc)


-Andy, RRT,CPFT
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Avatar_n_tn
Glad your mom's doc is being thorough!  As AndyRRT said, CT scans are painless and much quicker now than they were even a few years ago (with advances in technology & scanners).  

They provide MUCH more detailed information, particularly with a highly skilled technician taking the images and a highly skilled radiologist interpreting the images.  Many machines also can copy the images onto CD-rom, so the patient can have a copy to share with the docs.

Good luck & I hope she receives good news from the CT scan.  I've had many & my hubby & teen children have had them as well.
Aloha,
Starion
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