There are numerous lung diseases, CT scans are very useful in diagnosing the right one. HRCT examination is one such scan where it provides valuable information that easily cannot be depicted through medical history & other tests too.
CT/HRCT Chest Scan ensures accuracy in the diagnosis or prognosis of diseases. It helps determine the development of the diseases easily and also examines all the acute & major symptoms of worsening diseases.
At a time when the number of COVID cases is rising rapidly and there is a high false negative rate in RT-PCR nasal swabs, many people are suffering from complications and severe symptoms. It is also suspected that the mutated virus could easily avoid PCR tests, and therefore patients with suspected COVID are advised to undergo CT scans instead of being retested.
The high demand for chest x-rays and HRCT has led to an exponential rise in prices and demand for these tests. Medical diagnostic networks and imaging labs are also seeing a strong influx of people who want to get tested, which in a sense also helps to determine the severity of the disease.
Multiple healthcare institutes often prefer using swab test methods to identify an infection. Though, as per the American Journal of Roentgenology, it was concluded that the CT/HRCT Scan diagnosis of COVID-19 is fairly accurate with 4% error rate.
Many people have varied preferences regarding the diagnosis, CT/HRCT has been the primary and precise tool in the early detection of COVID-19.
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Considering CT/HRCT, what is HRCT scan, and why it is done, what is the process, and how it is beneficial in assessing the COVID-29 infection and so on. You will get answers to all these questions in this blog post, keep on reading to know more information.
What Exactly is CT/HRCT Scan?
Computed Tomography also known as High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) refers to a CT scan that provides a more accurate cross-sectional image of the lungs than conventional chest CT and chest x-rays.
HRCT Chest scan uses special technologies to improve image resolution with fine lung details ideal for evaluation. An HRCT scan covers the entire lung tissue, which helps doctors find the cause of any abnormalities.
The method can be used for the diagnosis of acute and chronic diseases of lung tissue and respiratory tract. HRCT may be more sensitive and accurate in diagnosing diffuse lung disease. Because HRCT can detect even small nodules in the lungs, it can detect major abnormalities early and help develop appropriate treatment plans.
Why CT or HRCT Chest Scan is Done?
HRCT chest scans are considered as the method of choice for detecting unexplained lung abnormalities and chest complications. The following are some of the most common uses of the scan:
- To assess the lung functioning & the risk of development of any diffuse lung disease.
- To deter the airflow obstructions in the lungs
- To find out any abnormal growth of tumors inside the lungs.
- For biopsy, to select the optimal route if needed
- To figure out multiple lungs’ infections like bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, etc.
- To analyze abnormalities found in chest CT scan and chest X-ray
- To examine the progression & severity of an infection
How to prepare for a chest CT/HRCT Scan?
The HRCT scan is a painless, non-invasive imaging technique that does not require special preparation before the procedure. During the procedure, the patient is not injected with a contrast agent. You can stick to your regular diet and continue your regular activities.
However, in some cases, patients may be required to fast for several hours before the procedure. It is also recommended to have all medical records and prescriptions with you at the time of the scan. Radiologists can use these recordings to confirm their findings and make an accurate diagnosis.
Before entering the scanning room, the patient is put on a large, comfortable cotton gown. Before starting the procedure, you must remove all jewelry and metal objects.
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HRCT Chest Scan Procedure
Qualified technicians carry out the test. During the scan, the patient lies down on an examination table, which then slides into a large round donut-shaped CT machine. The position of the patient is usually recumbent (lying on the back) with both hands above the head. The patient is asked to remain still and hold their breath. HRCT chest scans take less than 5 minutes after the patient enters the scanner.
After the Scan
- Once the scan is completed, patients can drink or eat as usual.
- Hard copies of chest scan can be available in the next 2 hours of the scan and you can get the written report within 24-48 hours.
Note— As this scan uses ionizing radiation, pregnant women must inform their doctor before the scan.
How is Chest HRCT useful in Assessing Covid-19 infection?
The demand for chest scans has grown exponentially at a time when the number of Covid-19 cases across the country is growing rapidly.
People with negative RT-PCR also suffer from severe symptoms of Covid-19. In this case, people are advised to have an HRCT chest scan. This scan is another way to determine the extent of viral infection in the lungs.
People have HRCT chest scans as soon as they see initial symptoms, but HRCT reports show ground-glass opacities in the lungs, usually visible within a week of infection.
The 3-fold uses of an HRCT chest scan in COVID management are stated below:
- HRCT chest demonstrates the disease progress at various stages-early, progressive, peak stage, & absorption stage. The test helps to better understand the disease progress, diagnosis and treatment.
- It could be positive even when the RT-PCR test gives it negative which strengthens the significant role of HRCT in the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection.
- HRCT chest scan images of a patient reveal that over 90% of the lung lesions disappear or just a slight patch remains, illustrating that COVID-19 infection is not only preventable & controllable but also curable if appropriate treatment is provided on time.
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Duration of the Scan
The duration of a CT scan depends on the area of the body to be scanned and what the radiologist is trying to diagnose. On average, the scan should take about 30 minutes if counterstaining is not required.
The patient will receive some radiation during the CT scan, but the amount will be minimal.
The chance that CT radiation will cause cancer is very, very small, and the risk of CT radiation is worth the risk because it allows physicians and radiologists to diagnose and treat a patient’s life-threatening illness that “otherwise would not have otherwise got detected.
Matrix offers advanced CT scan services in Hyderabad and performs cardiac screening to rule out coronary heart disease, lung injury, pediatric imaging among other applications of routine uses. Contact us for a safe & accurate CT/HRCT scan in Hyderabad.