What Organs Does A CT Scan of the Chest Show?

A CT scan of the chest shows us anatomy and any abnormalities of the heart, lungs, mediastinum and surrounding bones.  CT scan of the chest can be done with or without contrast given through the veins.  CT scan of the chest start at the lower neck, goes through the chest and includes the upper abdomen.

What does a CT scan of the chest show?

CT scan of the chest shows us both lungs.  We can see abnormalities such as pneumonia, lung cancer, emphysema, effusions or fluid around the lungs, and many others.  CT scan of the chest is the best test to look at the lungs.

CT scan of the chest can show us some abnormalities of the heart.  We can see fluid around the heart called a pericardial effusion.  We can identify enlargement of the heart.  Specially done CT can be done to look at the coronary arteries which feed the heart.  Blockages and plaque of the coronaries can lead to heart attacks.

CT scan of the chest can show us the structures of the mediastinum.  This is the part of the chest between the lungs in the middle.  This goes from the from the front of chest to the back, and from bottom to top.

The mediastinum and it’s content is well seen on CT .  We can see abnormalities of the blood vessels like the aorta.  We can see a torn aorta, aneurysms, and bleeding.  We can see cancers like lymphoma and other masses.  Abnormalities of the esophagus such as cancer or Achalasia can sometimes be found.

The bones of the chest are well seen on CT.  We can see the ribs, the thoracic spine, the sternum, the clavicles, and scapula.  Abnormalities like fractures, spread of cancer, infections and arthritis can be found.

CT scans of the chest also include the upper abdomen.  We see parts of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, adrenals, aorta and bowel.  We can sometimes identify abnormalities of the organs like masses.  We can sometimes see kidney blockages and stones. We can also see the lower neck.

CT scans of the chest offer a detailed look at organs and structures in the chest.  CT scans are done for many indications like chest pain, cancer, trauma, amongst many others.  Specialized CT scans can be done to look for clots in the lungs (pulmonary emboli) and coronary arteries.   CT scans of the chest   allow a confident diagnosis of many conditions.

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