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British Lung Foundation
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Is a CT scan without contrast as effective as a CT with dye?

My doctor prescribed a chest CT scan without dye. She says there is a little bit less risks associated with it. I wonder if it's gonna be as effective in detecting any abnormalities.

Thank you for your input!

6 Replies

Contrast i was told the only use to see if stuff the find as blood surply

Have seen ct images with out contrast and think the well detailed BUT depends what the looking at for


I cannot have a CT with Contrast due to me being allergic to Iodine. But I have had many CT and MRI with either an alternative or a safer infusion for me. As well as nothing at all. CT will give a better picture of the body/lung as it is scanned at 360 degree compared to a flat overlapping Xray. I have even had a nuclear MRI when they put a radio active tracer in my blood which showed a poor blood suply to my left lung.


Thank you! This is reassuring.


Found this on Google

What is the difference between CT scan with and without contrast?

CT scans are more detailed than standard X-rays. ... CT scans may be done with or without "contrast." Contrast refers to a substance taken by mouth or injected into an intravenous (IV) line that causes the particular organ or tissue under study to be seen more clearly.

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I've always had a CT scan with contrast ordered up by my pulmonologist (a bronchX specialist at Papworth Hospital Lung Defence team) but I have no idea whether this is just something specific to my case (fairly mild bronchX and maybe not immediately evident without contrast).

If your doctor is a specialist in your disease then I would trust her judgement. Not much you can do if you suspect the alternative, without issuing a challenge ("why did you conclude that as I have heard from another sufferer that he is routinely given CT Scans with contrast for bronchX"?), which might cause offence*. You could of course consider consulting someone else. Maybe ask the BLF team if they have access to a pulmo or radiologist who could answer the question.

*Maybe easier to ask your 'doctor' what exactly are the additional risks and what are the potential rewards of using contrast, since other bronchX sufferers seem to be scanned wity contrats

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I think that for the moment, I'll do what you said and trust her judgment.

Sadly, I can't call the BLF cause I'm in Canada, but I'll try to call our local association.

Thank you for taking the time to reply!

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