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CT Heart Scan

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CT HEART SCAN DEFINITION

The CT heart scan, also known as the cardiac heart scan, an x-ray machine revolves around the body in order to take very clear, detailed images of the heart, often with the aid of contrast dye to make images clearer and sharper.

CT HEART SCAN PURPOSE

This scan helps to evaluate a person’s risk for certain cardiovascular problems, or to check the extent of an existing problem. For example, one can look for plaque in the arteries, or embolisms caused by blood clots blocking vessels. Aneurysms (weak parts of vessel walls that bulge out) or valve function problems can also be seen with this scan.

CT HEART SCAN RISKS

In some cases, especially where a person is at serious risk of kidney failure, it is possible that the contrast dye will cause damage. Doctors must weigh these factors before doing the scan. Also, given the fact that this scan uses X-rays, it should not be used on pregnant women because of the possibility of damaging the fetus. Minute increases in the risk of cancer may be possible.

CT HEART SCAN PREPARATION REQUIRED

After your doctor has decided that it is necessary for you to get the scan, you can get an appointment for it. You will then most likely be asked to change into a hospital gown and get an injection of dye. You will be told to remove all metal from your person. If you are a pregnant woman, please notify the staff. Make sure to follow all instructions about (not) moving or breathing. Try to get into a fairly comfortable position and/or ask assistance in doing so, so there is less likelihood of you moving at the wrong time and compromising the images.
CT HEART SCAN
Image: CT HEART SCAN

CT HEART SCAN PROCEDURE

After you have lain down inside the machine, the scan will begin. Follow the instructions you were given before the procedure about breathing and moving. You may be given some instructions during the exam, for example, indications when it is alright to inhale.

CT HEART SCAN COMPLICATIONS

This is a fairly simple procedure. Possible side effects from the dye may cause complications. It may also be difficult to scan very obese patients.

CT HEART SCAN SIDE EFFECTS

To reiterate, there is a possibility that some patients may experience side effects (such as renal failure) from contrast dye.

CT HEART SCAN RESULTS

The result is a set of images of your heart and surrounding vessels—assuming contrast was sufficient. The images will then be interpreted and analyzed for abnormalities. If the images are not normal, you may be diagnosed with a serious ailment, or as being at serious risk for an ailment.
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