Cardiac computed tomography (CT)

23 May 2021 / 3:18 pm

What is it ?

A cardiac CT is an x-ray test to determine if there are blockages in your heart arteries. The test is particularly useful for patients with suspected angina as an alternative to more invasive tests.


How is it performed?

You will be asked to lie down on a special bed so that the CT scanner can move around you. A contrast agent (dye) is injected into your blood stream. X-rays are then directed towards your heart whilst you hold your breath for a few seconds. The images are reconstructed in 2D and 3D to check the location of your heart arteries and identify if there is any narrowing within them. Sometimes we need to slow your heart rate down a little to improve the image quality. This is usually done by taking medication before or during the scan.

How long does it take ?

The cardiac CT scan takes about 30 minutes.

Are there any risks ?

All x-ray radiation carries a risk of causing cancer. This risk is minimised with modern CT scanners. The test will only be requested if it is felt that the benefits of the test outweigh the risk to your health.

What happens next ?

Once you have had your CT scan, the images will be reported by a cardiologist and radiologist and the results sent through to your doctor.

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