Diagnostic Imaging

Imaging tests use various ways of creating pictures of the inside of the body. Some, like X-rays, are familiar to most people. Others use sophisticated, computer-assisted techniques to create highly detailed images of the inside of the body.

Because of the close relationship between the heart and lungs, a doctor may do imaging scans on a patient's heart as well as lungs.

Imaging tests include:

  • Chest X-rays can show infections, a collapsed lung, overinflation of the lung or tumors.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans show details of the chest that can't be seen on an X-ray. Sometimes a material is used to create contrast when the scan is done so that certain features will show up more clearly. A CT scan takes about an hour to do. A person should not eat before having a CT scan.
  • Echocardiogram (ECHO) is a type of image created by sound and its echoes in the body. An echocardiogram is done to see what impact lung disease has had on the heart. It can also give information about the blood pressure inside the arteries of the lung. This test takes about 30 minutes.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) records the electrical activity of the heart. This 15-minute test gives doctors information about the heart's rate and rhythm as it pumps.
  • Stress myocardial perfusion imaging test uses small amount of radioactive materials to create an image of the blood flow to the heart muscles.
  • Additional tests may be required not listed