Computed Tomography (CT or CAT Scan)

CT is a safe and painless exam that uses a special X-ray tube to produce a series of computerized images of your body that are useful in detecting many medical conditions that do not appear on traditional X-rays. The Stamford Hospital is on the cutting-edge of CT technology which enables physicians to perform thin slice imaging, covering a large area of the body in a single breath-hold, thereby reducing radiation exposure to the patient. This system offers superb image quality and improved cardiovascular, neurological, and lung imaging.

Stamford Hospital CT Scan is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) in Adult and Pediatric CT scan imaging.

  • What to expect
  • Preparing for exam
  • Exam FAQS

What you need to know before your exam

  • Typically, a CT Scan appointment can take anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time. For CT scans of the abdominal area with oral contrast, you may need to arrive early.
  • If you are having a CT Scan with oral contrast, you will need to arrive between 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes prior to your appointment time. For additional information regarding your arrival time, please contact the scheduling department at 203-276-2602.
  • Remove all metal objects prior to your CT Scan.
  • If you are receiving CT Scan IV Contrast, do not eat or drink for 4 hours prior to your exam.

During your CT exam, you will lie very still on a table that slides into the opening of the machine. You will hear humming noises as the x-ray tube circles around your body and takes pictures. A CT exam can take anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the area of the body being scanned.

CT scans sometimes require the use of contrast media, either intravenously and/or by mouth, to enhance blood vessels and organs and highlight the area being imaged. If the contrast material is administered intravenously, an IV is inserted into an arm vein, and you can expect to feel a warm, flushing sensation that lasts one to two minutes as the contrast enters your body. If you are asked to drink a contrast "smoothie", you may pick up the contrast in advance from one of The Stamford Hospital’s facilities, or you can arrive one to two hours ahead of your scheduled appointment time to drink the contrast.

Contrast Media
CT scan exams can be ordered by your physician with or without contrast media, either administered intravenously (through a vein or existing port) or administered orally (by mouth.)


Intravenous (IV) Contrast

If your doctor has ordered your CT Scan with Intravenous (IV) contrast, you should not eat or drink for four (4) hours prior to your appointment. Should you need to take your prescribed medications, you may do so by drinking a small amount of water. Please note that laboratory work must be obtained for the following patients prior to their appointment: history of diabetes, renal insufficiency, or age 50 or older. If you have not had lab work within the last 90 days and are not scheduled to have lab work, please contact your physician prior to your appointment.

Oral Contrast

If your doctor has ordered your CT Scan with oral contrast only, you may eat, drink, and take your prescribed medications prior to your appointment. Once you arrive to the Radiology Department, you will be administered an oral contrast to drink for 1-2 hours prior to your examination.

Without Contrast

If your doctor has ordered your CT Scan without any contrast, you may eat, drink, and take your prescribed medications.

Depending on the type of CT scan exam that your physician has ordered, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown or remove jewelry or dentures prior to your exam.

For diabetic patients receiving IV contrast, it is advised that you eat a small meal no less than 4 hours prior to the appointment. All prescribed diabetes medications can be taken prior to your appointment. Following your CT exam with IV contrast, you may be instructed to stop taking certain diabetes medications for 48 hours and follow-up with your ordering physician.


If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, please discuss with your ordering physician prior to your scheduled appointment.

A small percentage of the patient population may be allergic to contrast material. If you have a history of several severe allergies, a prior reaction to contrast, or a history of an allergy to iodine, please consult with your physician prior to your appointment.

Will my insurance cover a CT Scan?
Please discuss with your physician, as all insurances work differently. Some insurance companies require pre authorization.

How can I schedule this exam?
A physician referral is required, so it is important that you discuss this exam with your physician. You or your physician can call 203.276.2602. To save time, please complete our CT questionnaire:

How long will it take for me to see the results of my exam?
A report will be generated and sent to your physician.

How do I obtain my results or a copy of my exam?
To obtain your results, please complete the Authorization of Release form and contact Stamford Hospital Imaging Library at 203.276.7038. Patients can obtain a copy of their report and/or a CD of the exam.

Radiation Hotline
For questions regarding your CT exam radiation exposure, please call one of Stamford Hospitals Medical Physicists at 203.276.4099.

Special Clinical Services

Lung Screening Program: Stamford Hospital is a designated ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center.  Candidates must be 50-80 years of age with at least a 20pack/year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Cardiac Imaging: Our clinical service offers an array of exams based on your clinical indications including, Calcium Scoring, Angiography of the Coronary Arteries, Pulmonary Vein Mapping, Watchman, and pre-op imaging for TAVR.

Pediatric Imaging: The Stamford Hospital is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) in Pediatric Imaging. Our imaging team supports the Image Gently philosophy of obtaining the best image quality with the lowest possible radiation dose. Each site offers pediatric exams based on either patient weight or age, making each patient exam a customized study. All pediatric CT scans are interpreted by a board certified Pediatric Radiologist, a service provided 24/7.

CT Enterography: CT Imaging of the small intestines as well as other structures in the abdomen and pelvis that are visualized through the administration of intravenous and oral contrast & water.

Advanced 3D Imaging: 3D image enhancement capability is available to offer a more detailed approach in evaluating blood vessels and disease processes in the body.

CT Guided Procedures: Interventional Radiology procedures such as biopsies, drainages, or Radiofrequency Ablations are often performed in CT Scan with CT Guidance or CT Fluoroscopy guidance. Please refer to Interventional Radiology for more information.

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