Computed Tomography Scan
(Also called: Cardiac CT, CT scan, CAT scan)
A computed tomography (CT) scan is a type of imaging test that lets doctors take three-dimensional (3-D) pictures of the heart and blood vessels in a very short amount of time. A CT scanner combines a type of X-ray machine with high-powered computers. The X-ray machine rotates around the body during the procedure, taking many pictures that the computers then reconstruct into a 3-D view.
- A nurse or doctor or technologist will ask you to sign an informed consent form. This form is required before the procedure can be performed.
- You may have a substance called a contrast agent injected into a vein. A contrast agent helps blood vessels show up more clearly on the images.
- If you are claustrophobic (afraid of small spaces) or uncomfortable, you may be given a sedative.
- You will lie down on a table that fits into the CT scanner.
- The table will slowly slide through the scanner, which takes pictures as you pass through the machine. You will be asked to stay still during this time to ensure that the pictures are clear.
- The pictures are looked at by a radiologist (a doctor who specializes in reading medical images), and a report will be sent to your doctor.