4 conditions that are diagnosed using an abdominal CT scan

What can be diagnosed with an abdominal CT scan
Learn four conditions that are diagnosed using an abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan.

The abdomen of the human body consists of digestive, urinary, and reproductive organs. An abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan is prescribed by the doctor to diagnose the conditions affecting these organs.

  1. Cancer
    • Cancer refers to the condition in which cells divide uncontrollably and destroy normal, healthy body tissue. It could spread throughout the body.
    • An abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan can help diagnose cancer, such as:
    • It can also diagnose the spread of cancer to the abdominal organs from other sites in the body.
  2. Problems in the pancreas, gallbladder, and liver
    • Acute cholecystitis, pancreatic abscess, pancreatitis, alcoholic liver disease, or blockage of bile ducts can be diagnosed through abdominal CT scans.
    • Cholecystitis refers to the inflammation of the gallbladder, whereas pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas. Both conditions cause abdominal pain along with other symptoms, such as fever, nausea, or vomiting.
    • However, alcoholic liver damage refers to the damage to the liver caused by excessive drinking. Abdominal discomfort, reduced appetite, and jaundice are some of the common symptoms of alcoholic liver damage.
  3. Kidney problems
    • Abdominal CT scans can help diagnose kidney ailments, such as kidney stones, kidney or ureter damage, polycystic kidney disease, or kidney infections.
    • The kidneys help filter the blood and remove toxins from the body. Kidney ailments can be caused by loss of proper blood flow to the kidneys, problems eliminating urine from the body, certain toxins or medications, or infections.
  4. Other ailments
    • Besides the diagnosis of ailments of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, or kidney, other abnormalities, such as renal artery stenosis, renal vein thrombosis, Crohn's disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, appendicitis, abscesses, and bowel wall thickening can be diagnosed through CT scan as well.
    • Ailments in renal arteries or veins refer to the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels, disrupting the normal blood flow and symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, or kidney failure, in some extreme conditions.
    • Crohn’s disease refers to the inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, whereas appendicitis refers to the inflammation of the appendix.
    • However, an abdominal aortic aneurysm refers to the enlargement of the aorta that can produce a life-threatening situation if the blood vessel bursts.
    • The results from the scan usually take one day to process. An abdominal CT scan eases the diagnosis process. However, your doctor can prescribe more tests to come to a concrete diagnosis of your condition.
    • While performing the scan, follow the instructions mentioned by the medical professionals, and you are likely to return to your regular activities once the abdominal CT scan finishes.

What is an abdominal CT scan?

Also called CAT scan, a computed tomography (CT) scan uses specialized X-rays that provide cross-sectional images of a specific part of the body. An abdominal CT scan helps diagnose the ailments that might affect the liver, kidney, gallbladder, appendix, or pancreas among other organs present in the abdomen.

The scan radiation produces required images of the organs, which enable the medical professionals to provide the appropriate treatment by reviewing the condition of the organs.

In some cases, abdominal CT scans can be used to determine internal bleeding or hemorrhage and save lives in such conditions.

Why is abdominal CT performed?

An abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan needs to be performed when medical professionals find something wrong in the abdominal area or when the condition cannot be diagnosed properly through physical examinations or lab tests.

The following are some conditions when abdominal CT scans are performed:


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Medically Reviewed on 3/29/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

Taylor CR. Abdominal Computed Tomography Scanning. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2114236-overview

Caraiani C, Yi D, Petresc B, Dietrich C. Indications for abdominal imaging: When and what to choose? J Ultrason. 2020;20(80):e43-e54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7266076/