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Cardiac CT Scan

Heart disease is the world’s biggest cause of death and a heart attack is often the first symptom of heart disease. This form of heart disease is due to a blockage/s of the coronary arteries. Invasive coronary angiogram is the standard test to assess the coronary artery blockages and this requires a catheter to be inserted into the heart.

A cardiac CT scan is a non-invasive alternative test to look at the coronary arteries. The process which is similar to an x-ray procedure examines the coronary arteries for blockages and abnormalities that cause reduced blood flow and can result in chest pains (angina) or heart attacks. It can also be used to evaluate the presence and extent of calcium in the coronary arteries and the ‘calcium score’ obtained can be used to predict the likelihood of coronary artery disease.

CT scanning is like looking into your heart by cutting it into thin slices; hence the frequent reference to the cardiac scanner as a “multi-slice CT”. A Cardiac CT scan uses special x-ray equipment to produce detailed crosssectional pictures of the heart and is used to visualize the blood vessels to the heart. The information is then used to optimize patient care, helping to determine what treatments or further evaluations are needed and to tailor long-term health goals as appropriate.

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WHAT TO EXPECT?

BEFORE
Your physician will schedule the examination and you will be given appropriate instructions as to how can prepare for the examination.
A nurse will assist you during the day of the examination.
An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted in your arm to facilitate the injection of contrast (X-ray dye) in order to visualize the coronary arteries.
DURING
You will be positioned inside the scanner. Breathe and hold instructions will
be given.
During the scan, you will feel the table move onto the scanner. A cardiac angiographer, who is specially trained in the use and operation of CT scanners, will perform the scan.
The scan is done within a single breath hold but preparation for the examination may take up to thirty minutes.
AFTER
You can go home once the procedure is done and the IV line has been
removed.
Our specialized team of cardiologists will analyze the images after the images are reconstructed using a sophisticated computer program. The results will then be sent to your referring physician who will discuss the findings with you.

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