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How a Heart CT Scan Is Performed
A heart CT scan is performed in a hospital’s radiology department or a clinic that specializes in diagnostic procedures.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you may be given a beta blocker before the scan. This medication will slow down your heart so that clearer pictures can be taken. (Mayo ) You’ll also be given an IV so that the technician can inject the radioactive dye into your arm. Some small, sticky discs called electrodes will also be placed onto your chest to record the scan.
At the start of the scan, you’ll lie down on a bench. The technician may want you to lie in a specific position. He or she may use pillows or straps to ensure that you stay in the correct position for long enough to get a quality image. You may also have to hold your breath during brief individual scans, which last only 10 to 20 seconds.
To start the scan, the technician will move the table—via a remote from a separate room—into the CT machine. It looks like a giant doughnut made of plastic and metal. You will most likely go through the machine several times. Although you will be in the room by yourself, the technician will be able to talk to you via an intercom.
After a round of scans, you may be required to wait for a few minutes while the technicians review the images to ensure they are clear enough for your doctor to read. However, the whole test should take no more than 10 minutes.
After a Heart CT Scan
After the procedure, you’ll be able to leave and go about your day right away. The dye will naturally work its way out of your body. Drinking more water will help speed up this process.
Getting the results from your heart CT scan doesn’t take long. Your doctor or the technician will go over the results with you.
Depending on what the images show, your doctor will advise you of any lifestyle changes, treatments, or procedures that need to be done.