A computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create detailed pictures of the heart and its blood vessels.
- This test is called a coronary calcium scan when it is done to see if you have a buildup of calcium in your arteries.
- It is called CT angiography if it is done to look at the arteries that bring blood to your heart. This test evaluates if there is narrowing or a blockage in those arteries.
- The test is sometimes done in combination with scans of the aorta or pulmonary arteries to look for problems with those structures.
CAT scan - heart; Computed axial tomography scan - heart; Computed tomography scan - heart; Calcium scoring; Multi-detector CT scan - heart; Electron beam computed tomography - heart; Agaston score; Coronary calcium scan
How the Test is Performed
You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner.
- You will lie on your back with your head and feet outside the scanner on either end.
- Small patches, called electrodes are put on your chest and connected to a machine that records your heart's electrical activity. You may be given medicine to slow your heart rate.
- Once you are inside the scanner, the machine's x-ray beam rotates around you.
A computer creates separate images of the body area, called slices.
- These images can be stored, viewed on a monitor, or printed on film.
- 3D or three-dimensional models of the heart can be created.
You must be still during the exam, because movement causes blurred images. You may be told to hold your breath for short periods of time.
The entire scan should only take about 10 minutes