CT Heart Scan   a resource for patients and physicians

 What it is like to have CT heart scan


 

Before your test

If you have not had a recent test of your kidney function within the past 3 months, you must have a blood test before your CT scan. This is described in the subsequent link "Procedure and forms for scheduling a CT heart scan."

How to find us

Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists (formerly CVI)  is in Mountain View at 2660 Grant Road, just south of El Camino Hospital. The following link will provide you with a map:

                                     Map of our location

Checking in


 If you have downloaded your medical questionnaire and consent form, please fill them out and bring them with you. If not, we will need to have you fill them out before we can proceed.

Brief Assessment

If your doctor has not prescribed a beta-blocker for you to take prior to the exam, one of our doctors will check your heart rate and will ask some simple questions.

 If your heart rate is > 65, you will probably be given an oral beta-blocker and asked to sit in our lobby for 45-60 minutes for it to take effect.

When it is time for the scan, you will be asked to remove your upper garments. Women are provided with a gown and are advised to wear a two-piece outfit. We provide lockers so that you can secure your personal items.

The actual test

Once you are comfortably positioned on the table, our technologist will attach several ECG leads to allow monitoring of your heart rhythm.

With the ECG leads in place, we will again check your rhythm and be sure that your heart rate is below 65.

Our technologist will then insert a small plastic needle into a vein in your right arm.

 If your heart rate is too fast, we may give you additional beta-blocker intravenously to further slow your heart rate.

Our technologist will then explain the scanning process, giving you simple instructions on how to breathe and when to hold your breath and be still.

Once you have had your intravenous hooked up to the contrast injector, we are ready to begin taking pictures.

After all the time we have spent getting ready, the actual pictures take less than 4-5 minutes, with the longest breathhold being about 15 seconds. You will feel a mild sensation of warmth throughout your body while the contrast dye is being injected. Most patients are pleasantly surprised at how quickly the test is finished.


After the test

 After all the images have been completed, our technologist will give you a simple set of follow-up instructions, the most important of which is to drink lots of water to help your kidneys clear the dye from your body.

Your images will be processed promptly and read by one of our doctors later the same day.

The final report will be sent to your doctor within 2 days (sooner if clinically necessary), and we will provide you with a CD of selected images if you so wish.

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