CAT or CT Scan are abbreviations for the same diagnostic test. Computed Tomography (CT) scan or Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) is a specialized xray that looks at structures of the body from several different angles. A computer is used to produce a 3-dimensional picture called a tomogram.

CT provides a look at the structures from several different positions. Each view produces a separate image called a "slice". CT is very good at picking up blood and fluid collections, and plays a major role in helping to diagnose problems. A CT can be done to look at almost any structure of the body. CT of the head, chest or abdomen are the most common types of CAT scans done in the critical care unit. They provide quick information that helps to identify multiple injuries following major trauma.

A special xray dye (called contrast) can be injected during CT if the doctors want to look specifically at the blood vessels. This can help to identify bleeding from a blood vessel. When contrast is used, the test is referred to as a CT with contrast.

Patients must travel to the xray department to have a CT performed.


Image 1: CT Scanner

CT Head

Image 2: CT of the head


CT Abdomen

Image 3: CT of the abdomen




Last Reviewed: October 23, 2014