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Conditions and treatments

CT (computed tomography) scan

What is a CT scan?

A CT (computed tomography) scan is a special X-ray that allows us to take a series of detailed images of the body.

What are the benefits?

The results of the scan will help your doctor diagnose any health problems you have been experiencing and decide on further treatment for you.

Are there any alternatives?

There is no other test that gives as much information on the lung tissue. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may give similar information about abnormalities of the heart and blood vessels, chest wall and abdominal anatomy.

What happens if I do not have the scan?

Your doctor may not have all the information needed to make a diagnosis. This may affect the type of treatment he or she can suggest for you.

How is a CT scan carried out?

Our radiographer will ask you to lie on a bed that will move through the scanner. You will be able to talk to the radiographer through a microphone during the scan.

A scan is not at all painful. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds while the images are taken. Each image is taken quickly, but takes a few minutes to appear on the radiographer’s screen. You should expect to be in the scanner for 30 minutes to an hour depending on the type of scan.

If you have a scan where we need to make the blood vessels easier to see, we may give you an injection. If you have a scan of the abdomen, we may give you water or a special drink so that the bowel shows up on the scan. We will give this to you 30 minutes to an hour before the scan so the fluid has time to reach the bowel.

After the scan

You will be able to continue with your normal daily activities after your scan.

Where is the CT scanner?

Harefield Hospital

The CT scanner is in the X-ray department.


Telephone: 01895 828 609


Royal Brompton Hospital

There are two CT scanners at the hospital.

Basement of Fulham Wing/South Block Please report to the X-ray reception in the basement of:

Fulham Wing

Royal Brompton Hospital

Fulham Road



X-ray department, level 3, Sydney Wing 

Please report to X-ray reception on level 3 of Sydney Wing)


Telephone: 020 7351 8220


Please check your appointment letter carefully. 

If you not sure where to go you should call 020 7351 8220 or ask at reception.

  • Your CT scan - Oct 2013 [pdf / 321KB] This leaflet gives general information about a CT scan. It does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner.