how many is too many CT scans, w/dye

I was diagnosed with copd in 2005. I was on life support for 2 days once, and for 13 days again about 6 years ago. nobody can believe I recovered like I have. (I am complete functional now, took me about 6 mo to be on my own again, god loves me!) I was completely helpless when I was taken off. couldn't do hardly anything for myself. wheelchair etc. I was In hospital every 3 or 4 mo for a couple years before being intubated. I quit smoking when I came out of hospital. and have only been back in hosp 2 times (for very short stays) since I quit.

back to my question, I have had 5 CT's (maybe a couple more I cant remember) in the last 4 years. I am having pain in my middle back and they did a regular xray looking for hairline fractures from osteoporosis, but found none. now they are wanting me to have another CT they always want the one with the dye. It worries me that I have had so many already. plus all the other plain xrays, and an mri. the pain is mostly when I am using my arms, and sit, it mostly goes away if I lay down or am moving around. amy feedback would be appreciated.

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17 Replies

  • Hi mawgee

    I do not know the answer to your question but I wanted to say that I am so sorry to read that you have to endure such a nightmare. I genuinely hope that you are feeling much better theses days.

    Take care


  • thank you

  • Try ringing British Lung Foundation for help on this, so you can talk through your worries. They are the ones who can give you the right advice. Take care and best wishes.

  • hi, and thanks for your advice. I don't know how I missed it, but I didn't realize this forum was British. I hope nobody thinks I am intruding.... the info and advice is very much appreciated.

  • You are not intruding and I am sure people will be along to welcome you.

  • mawgee, welcome to this forum. I think we say British because we speak English on this forum, although on this site there are ether languages forums (Spanish and Portuguese). Any member of the forum can create a forum in his language, there's no problem.

  • Hi mawgee, glad to hear that you're feeling a bit better. I don't have a definitive answer, but when I saw my chest specialist last month he told me that he'd noticed that I'd had 4 CT scans in the last 2 years and that I shouldn't have any more for a year or so. He said that they have a cumulative effect which wore off over time. I did look online when I got home from the appointment and found out that a CT scan contains as much radiation as 100 X-rays, however the information they give is much more useful than a conventional X-ray, so it is sometimes a balance of judgement. I would talk to your specialist to ensure he has fully read your notes and to make sure that a CT scan is the only way to get the information. Hope that helps.

  • thank you so much, that's more info than I have even gotten from the technician who I called yesterday!! why don't they make that information available? or doesn't he even know? I am getting really frustrated with all my care givers!!! maybe medical care is different in Britain.


    I cannot have a scan with trace /iodine as I am allergic to Iodine. But I did have an MRI with some special dye that cost a fortune. With any radiation it has an element of risk. When I was in ICU I was having xrays daily (32 days).

    Be Well

  • thanks for your response, and hope you are feeling better now!

    and you be well also.

  • Ive had three dye ones this month and been told finding the cause is far more important then worrying about the scans, apparently there is a lot less radiation in them now then there used to be.

  • I agree linsabout, need to have a diagnosis to get correct care and treatment.

    Good luck Mawgee

  • that's definitely more than I have had over a period of time. maybe I worry too much lol. if , like suwinter said, the effects wear off over time, that makes me feel more at ease about it. hope you are feeling better by now. thanks

  • I just had a CT scan mawgee. In the introduction paper, it says that indeed CT scan produces more X Rays than a normal one. It states too that a doctor will be aware of this, but that the risk of not having a scan puts you in more danger than having it. At least, you are diagnosed and every thing that needs to be seen is. If anything untoward was there, the technician and doctor would be aware of it. So this diagnostic tool will help you with any of your conditions.

  • Too many is when you say so. they want to examine my brain cause it does not fit the pattern an size of women where I live. well I am not a from around here so maby that makes my brain different,. I have end stage COPD, on 02 and still get around. my lungs hang down over my other organs. they cut bthe lower lobe off the right lung, it did not grow back and did not improve my breathing,So right now I say no more ct scans of any organ, it is a delicate matter of how much radiation you are willing to take. Ask them in what way will the scan improve your help and what it can do for you befor you allow more exposure. good luck, with your Doctor USA here Wishing you the best, I am taking a neb treatment so I can go to watch my town fireworks.

  • jusmaine, hope you enjoyed the fireworks. I tell myself after each ct, its the last. then I get nervous and get it anyway to assure myself I don't have something growing in there. its the dye that really worries me. so not sure what im going to do. still have the weekend to think. thanks for your input, and hope you are doing well.

  • thank you, I have decided I will have the ct.

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