CT scanning procedures have improved dramatically since the 70s. With better tools and techniques, doctors can now achieve higher-quality scans to aid in their practices.
However, regardless of these improvements, CT scans will not let you help your patients if you do not use them properly. Apart from familiarizing yourself with the machine’s correct operation, you also need to ensure that each patient who uses it is ready for the procedure.
If you want to give your patients the best care possible, here are a few tips to remember when preparing them for a CT scan.
1. Have them remove accessories
Note that while metal has no dangerous effect on the CT scan or the patient, its presence will produce a streak on the images produced. This can obscure parts of the picture, which can prove a hindrance to getting a proper diagnosis.
For that reason, always make sure your patients remove their accessories. This includes earrings, eyeglasses, dentures, and similar accessories, especially those made of metal. Dental work, such as braces, may also need to be removed, depending on which part of the body the scan will target.
2. Tell them to wear comfortable clothes
CT scans can take anywhere from fifteen minutes up to an hour or more. This will depend on how large the area to be scanned is. For that reason, it is essential to remind your patients to wear loose and comfortable clothes to remain as comfortable as possible during the procedure.
You can also have them wear hospital gowns if available. This can be a vital tip for patients who experience claustrophobia, as wearing tight clothing can increase the likelihood that they become anxious and panic during the scan.
3. Learn of the patient’s allergies and illnesses
It is also vital that you learn about your patients’ allergies and illnesses. This information is critical because of the contrast material you use during the scanning procedure. They may be allergic to things like iodine, in which case, it should be avoided.
Additionally, understanding your patients’ past and current illnesses is essential because some conditions, like asthma and diabetes, can hinder the CT scanner’s effectiveness. Knowing these details beforehand can help you thoroughly prepare each patient the right way to ensure a safe and comfortable scanning session.
4. Ask them to avoid eating before the scan
If you need to use contrast material for your patient, you need to ask them to avoid eating or drinking anything at least four hours before the scan. This ensures no foreign substances can interfere with the scan, allowing for a more effective procedure.
5. Avoid scanning pregnant women
CT scans should always be avoided when working with pregnant women. However, there are some cases where the necessity of the scan outweighs the risk. For instance, a CT scan might be required to determine what might be putting a woman’s life at risk. In such cases, a consultation with the pregnant woman that outlines the risks will first have to take place. That way, she can make an informed decision about her health.
It is vital that you follow the tips mentioned above. This is not only for the sake of the images produced but also for the sake of your patients. The more they know about what they need to do prior to the scan, the more comfortable they will be about going through with it.
Finally, do not forget to talk to your patients about the benefits and the risks of the scan. That way, they can fully understand why the CT scan is needed to address their problem.
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