A CT scan of the heart is an exam in which IV contrast is used to visualize cardiac anatomy and coronary circulation.
This scan is used to evaluate heart muscle, coronary arteries, pulmonary arteries and veins, the aorta and the pericardium (the sac around the heart).
How do I prepare for the exam?
Do not eat anything after midnight the night before the exam. Do not drink caffeinated beverages
(coffee, tea, sodas) or take cold medication after midnight the night before.
You will be asked to drink 2 large glasses of water 2 hours prior to the exam.
Lab work is required within 30 days of the exam.
What can I expect during the exam?
This exam is conducted by a radiologic technologist specially trained in CT, a nurse and a radiologist.
You will lie on your back on the CT table. EKG electrodes will be placed on your chest, and a blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm.
Depending on your heart rate, the RN may administer medications to slow or speed up your heart. After a set of preliminary scans, the technologist will administer the contrast through your IV, and you will be asked to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds while the scanner obtains your images. The table will move in small increments during this time.
What can I expect after the exam?
Your scan will be read by a radiologist and/or cardiologist and a written report will be sent to your physician, who will contact you with results.