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Computed Tomography

Highly precise multi-
dimensional images

A CT (computed tomography or CAT) scan uses x-rays to take cross sectional images of organs, tissues and blood vessels all over the body.

CT is useful because you can see detailed images of different parts of the body. CT allows many pictures to be taken in a very short amount of time. You will be lying down for any CT exam you have.

Depending on the reason the test is being done, you may be given contrast. Contrast is a substance that highlights tissues and blood vessels.

Contrast may be given in a variety of ways, including IV, oral or both.

If you have an allergy to contrast or iodine, please notify your doctor the day prior to your scan, as you may need to be pre-medicated.

The American College of Radiology, ACR, is an accrediting entity that recognizes radiologic professions for quality work. The CT department at Cookeville Regional has been accredited by the ACR for several years and in 2020, we proudly added accreditation for cardiac CT.

The CT technologists at Cookeville Regional are required to be ARRT certified in CT. Our staff are also required to complete at least 24 continuing education credits every two years.

From cardiac CT, CT-guided biopsy or drainage, the Imaging Center at Cookeville Regional has the technology to find any issues.

We take pride in the service we provide and love caring for our patients.

Cardiac CT

Clear liquids only four hours before your exam with no caffeine after 10 p.m. the night before the exam — you will get an IV and contrast for this scan.

The ordering doctor will prescribe medications for you to take the night before and/or the morning of the test.

You may also continue taking your daily medications as prescribed. Cardiac CTs typically take 30 minutes to hour, but there are a few factors that can delay the exam process.

HeartFlow Analysis

Cookeville Regional now offers HeartFlow analysis for fractional flow reserve CT, advanced technology in diagnosing and managing coronary artery disease. After a CTA coronary exam is complete, the cardiologist thoroughly reviews the images to determine if a FFR CT is warranted. This technology will guide physicians to make the best choice for your continued care.

CT-guided biopsy or drainage

Do not eat or drink for eight hours before your procedure. You must bring someone with you to your appointment to drive you home.

Stop any blood thinners you may be taking according to the following protocol:

  • Aspirin – to be withheld for 7 days
  • Plavix – to be withheld for 7 days
  • Coumadin – to be withheld for 5 days
  • IV Heparin – to be withheld for 5 hours
  • Subcutaneous heparin – to be withheld 12 hours
  • Fragmin – to be withheld 12 hours
  • Lovenox – to be withheld 12 hours

If you have not been told to do this, contact your ordering physician as early as possible before the day of your procedure. For your safety, you will need to be rescheduled.

These types of procedures in CT typically take 30 minutes to an hour for the exam. You should expect to be at the hospital for 4-6 hours from the time you arrive for your exam. As with any procedure, complications may arise that could lengthen your stay.

Patient instructions

Be sure to bring a list of your medications to your appointment.

CT chest, neck, or head with contrast: Clear liquids only four hours before exam. You will get an IV and contrast for this scan.

CT abdomen and pelvis with contrast: Do not eat or drink for four hours before your exam. Please complete the oral prep two hours before your exam. You will get an IV for this scan.

Any study ordered as an angio (looking specifically at arteries), including head, neck (carotids), chest (aneurysm), abdomen and pelvis (aneurysm), aorta with runoff (down the legs): Clear liquids only four hours before your exam. You will get an IV and contrast for these scans.

Lung cancer screening

Cookeville Regional offers low-dose CT screening services to help catch disease process in early stages.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women worldwide. Nearly 160,000 Americans die of lung cancer each year. Lung cancer ranks number 3 overall in cases in Tennessee and is Cookeville Regional’s top site of cancer. Lung cancer patients are frequently diagnosed at later stages.

Based on the findings of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), we know that CT lung screening can now save lives of people at high risk for developing lung cancer.

Low-dose CT (LDCT) lung screening uses a low dose scan technique to look for early signs of lung cancer. This affordable exam can quickly give patients a peace of mind after years of smoking and other risk factors.

Click on the following documents for more information.

CC-325 – Lung Cancer Screening Questionnaire – Brochure – ONLINE VERSION – 4-22

CC-331 – Lung Cancer Screening Questionnaire – Rev. 2-22

We are currently offering LDCT lung screening to individuals who meet the established high-risk criteria at an affordable price. Some insurances, such as Medicare, are covering the LDCT lung screening.

To be scheduled for a screening, talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to see if you qualify.

Your healthcare provider will be required to fill out and sign the provider order. To expedite the process, you may take the questionnaire and completed order form to your provider who will then complete it and send it to Cookeville Regional to schedule the scan. Cookeville Regional will file your insurance.

Because insurance may require a preauthorization, it may be several days before your scan is scheduled. We will work with you and your provider to schedule it as quickly and conveniently as possible.

If your insurance does not cover the screening or if you do not have insurance, the cost is $99.

CT calcium score

A CT calcium score is a quick, painless exam to check for disease processes in the heart that could lead to a heart attack. If you are pre-disposed to heart problems, this test could easily assess if interventions, such as stents or a bypass, is necessary before irreversible damage occurs.

The CT department performs all types of exams for many different reasons. Along with routine scans, procedures and cardiac exams, we also do pre-planning exams for surgeries. The most recent addition for surgical planning in CT is the navigation for bronchoscopy. This test is used in addition to real time fluoro to help guide the pulmonologists reach smaller, more peripheral lung nodules.

How will I get my results?

An interpreting physician (usually a radiologist) will read your exam and make a final diagnosis. His interpretation will be converted to a written report, which will be sent to the physician who ordered your exam. Your physician should present the findings of your exam to you. You may also sign up for a patient portal account at to read your results online.