CT heart scan: Provides detailed images of the heart and coronary arteries
CT heart scan is the test which creates precise X-ray images of the heart muscle and coronary arteries, with the use of computer guided tomography. As well as with other X-ray images, the doctor can use intravenous contrast such as iodine, if required.
Only problem with this kind of test is exposure to dangerous radiation. Although the dose is minimal, it is always better to avoid it, especially if you had these kind of tests, before.
USES OF CT HEART SCAN
It is used to:
- Diagnose coronary heart disease and detect calcium buildup in the walls of coronary arteries
- Evaluate the size of the heart muscle and the condition of the heart valves
- Detect problems of the coronary arteries or pulmonary veins such as blockages, bulges, bleeding or blood clots
- Diagnose pericardial disease
- Evaluate the condition of the graft, after bypass surgery
HOW TO PREPARE FOR CT HEART SCAN
Pregnant women shouldn't undergo the test, in order to prevent the damage to the fetus or the baby. Individuals that may be allergic to contrast agent such as iodine as as well as people taking medications and those with kidney or pulmonary problems, should consult with their doctor, before the test.
When it comes to CT X-ray scan, you shouldn't eat few hours before the test or consume stimulants such as coffee, on the day of the test. Only water is allowed.
If you have problem relaxing, the doctor may ask you to come at least an hour before, in order to relax you and lower high heart rate, by administering beta blockers.
Moving or twitching during the test, can negatively affect the images which may increase the length of the test as well as the results of the test.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING CT HEART SCAN
First, you will be taken to the dressing room, where you will be asked to change into a hospital gown or to strip down from the waist up. You will also be asked to remove any jewelry from your neck and chest. When you are ready, the technologist will place you on the movable table and make sure you are comfortable.
You will be asked to hold your breath and to stay very still for few seconds, during the scan. If required, you may recieve an injection of IV fluid contrast, so the doctor can get a better view of your heart and coronary arteries.
You may hear humming sound, while the CT records images. The test is pain free but if you feel anything unusual or strange, you communicate with the technologist via the intercom. Although entire process last 10 to 15 minutes, the actual part during which the images are taken, last a few seconds.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER CT HEART SCAN
After the test, you can return to your regular activites and eating habits. The results will be evaluated and analyzed, by the team of specialists which will sent them to your doctor. Your doctor will talk about the results of the test with you. If you have any question, ask your doctor.
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