CT Scans

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CT (Computed Tomography) is an imaging technology that uses x-ray beams (radiation) and computers to create detailed, cross-sectional images of an area of the body.


CT scans are a common diagnostic imaging test that displays two and three dimensional images of internal structures of the body on a computer screen. CT scan uses a narrow beam of x-rays and computers to generate detailed images of bones and soft tissues in the body. In some exams a contrast agent is administered through an IV to evaluate blood vessels and vascular organs.

Technical staff includes state licensed Radiology Technologists who are certified in the advanced practice of CT Scan by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Board certified radiologists with subspecialty expertise interpret scans and perform radiological consultations.

ACR CTThe Hartford Hospital Imaging Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology for computed tomography.

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The Program

Adult Patient Information
Download a CT Scan Patient Guide: English | Spanish 

Patient Resources
Please read the preperation instructions for the following types of CT Exams:

Contact the hospital department where your CT scan is scheduled if:

  • You think you have a condition that might prevent a CT Scan.
  • You are unable to lay flat.
  • You are unable to ambulate and require a hoyer lift.
  • You are allergic to Iodinated Contrast Agents
  • You think there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • You have had difficulty in the past obtaining IV access, or if you have a power port. (IV therapy services are available).
  • You are having an abdomen and pelvic CT exam (special preparations are required).
  • You have questions or concerns of any kind.

Before Your Exam

  • Wear comfortable clothing without metal fasteners or snaps. Leave all jewelry and valuables at home.
  • See “After Your Exam” if you have diabetes and are currently taking Glucophage, Metformin, or any of the other diabetes meds listed.
  • Bring your most recent x-ray, CT or MRI scans, your health insurance information and any necessary forms.
  • Check in 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time with admitting to allow time to register for your exam and check in. A child and/or patient requiring special preparation or sedation may be asked to arrive earlier.
  • Plan for at least 30 minutes to complete your CT examination. The length of your scan will depend on the type of information needed and may require more or less time.
  • Patients with diabetes and taking any form of Glucophage or Metformin, HIV positive, greater than 65 years old will need laboratory work to check for creatinine and BUN blood levels prior to an IV contrast exam.

If you are having a CT scan with IV contrast:

  • If you are over 65 years old, have kidney disease, or diabetic, your MD will need to send you for a blood test before the day of the exam
  • You should not eat solid foods for two hours prior to your test. You may, however, drink clear fluids.

How to prepare for your abdomen and pelvic CT exams: Adults and Children

Most abdomen and pelvic CT exams require the patient to drink a prepared oral contrast agent. Preparations vary and involve the pick up of the medication, or arriving early on the day of the exam to drink the contrast agent before the scan.

If you are unsure about the instructions provided at the time your examination was scheduled, contact the Imaging Center at least 48 hours in advance. 860-972-2861. Failure to prepare properly for an examination may result in delay or re-scheduling of your test.

During your exam:

  • The technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.
  • If you are having a CT scan with IV contrast an IV site will be placed in your arm by a skilled Technologist or Nurse.
  • You will be asked to lay flat on the exam table, and the technologist will position you for the exam.
  • The table you are on will move in and out of the scanner as it takes images. The scanner is open in the back and front, and is not enclosed.
  • Staff will be able to see and hear you throughout the exam.
  • You may be asked to hold still and hold your breath at certain points in the exam.
  • The IV contrast may cause you to experience a warm sensation all over your body and a metal taste in your mouth immediately after the injection. This is normal and will go away within minutes.
  • This procedure usually takes approximately 20-40 minutes
  • If you experience any discomfort, pain, itching or swelling during or after the injection of IV contrast please notify the Technologist immediately.

After Your Exam

  • Patients may eat normally after a CT Scan.
  • It is best to drink extra fluids to help flush out any contrast agents possibly administered during the procedure.
  • Results will be sent to the ordering physician within a few days.

Patients with diabetes who are currently taking any form of Glucophage or Metformin (Actoplus Met, Avandemet, Fortamet, Glucavance, Glumetza, Janumet, Metaglip, PrandiMet, Riomet), are strongly advised to stop taking these medications the day of the exam and for 48 hours following procedures where IV contrast agents are administered. Patients are advised to increase their fluid intake to flush the contrast from their system. Patients taking these medications need to contact their prescribing physician before resuming the above mentioned medication.

Children Patient Information
Contact the hospital department where your child's CT scan is scheduled if:

  • You think your child has a condition that might prevent a CT Scan.
  • Your child is having an abdomen and pelvic CT exam (special preparations are required.)
  • You have questions or concerns of any kind.

Before the Procedure

Because motion can distort CT images, it will be necessary for your child to remain still during the examination. For this reason, CT examinations on young children are generally performed in a hospital setting where they can be monitored under sedation. Generally, children over 6 years of age may be managed in an outpatient setting without sedation.

CT examinations are best performed when the child is sleepy. We recommend keeping your child up late the night before the test and waking them very early on the morning of their exam. For this reason, morning appointments are recommended.

Bring a bottle or snacks for young children to give them after the examination is complete.

Plan for at least one hour to complete the exam. The length of your child's scan will depend on the age of the child, type of procedure, level of sedation and monitoring required.

If your child will receive conscious / IV sedation:

Plan to arrive at the Imaging Center desk least 60 minutes prior to his/her scheduled appointment time to register for the exam.

  • DO NOT let the child EAT for 4-6 hours prior to the CT exam.
  • Drinking clear liquids is allowed up to 3 hours prior to procedure.

After The Exam

Your child may eat normally after an examination. Children should be encouraged to drink extra fluids which helps to flush out contrast agent or other medications possibly administered during the procedure.

A restful level of activity is recommended for 24 hours following any examination or procedure performed under sedation. Sedation causes drowsiness and temporarily impairs coordination. For your child's safety, bicycle riding, skating, swimming or other activities should be avoided.

Always follow up with your child's physician after any diagnostic examination. The results of your child's examination will be forwarded to his / her physician, who will share the results and any treatment recommendations with you.

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