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Cardiac Electron-Beam CT Scan


 What is a cardiac electron-beam CT scan?
 When is it used?
 How do I prepare for this procedure?
 What happens during the procedure?
 What happens after the procedure?
 What are the risks of this procedure?

What is a cardiac electron-beam CT scan?

A cardiac electron-beam CT scan, sometimes called ultra-fast CT or EBCT, is a computer-assisted X-ray scan of the heart. It can be used to check for coronary artery disease.

CT can also check the heart in other ways, including looking at heart valves and the size and function of the lower chambers of the heart (right and left ventricles). CT can help healthcare providers check nearby blood vessels, such as the aorta, which carries blood from the heart.

Results from the scan may help your healthcare provider determine how best to manage risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol.

The full medical term for CT is computed tomography.

When is it used?

This scan may be done to:

How do I prepare for this procedure?

Tell your healthcare provider if you have had any reactions to iodine-containing foods or chemicals, such as seafood or X-ray contrast dye.

What happens during the procedure?

Scanning usually lasts 20 to 90 minutes and is painless. During a CT scan, you lie still on a table. The table slides into the CT unit, which is like a small tunnel. It is important not to move during the scan. The best CT scans are obtained if you hold your breath while you are being scanned. If this is not possible, you will be asked to breathe quietly and regularly. The scanner moves around the table and may make noises. You can talk to the technologist at any time during the procedure.

For some types of CT scans, you may be given an injection of a contrast agent (X-ray dye) to check blood flow through the heart and lungs.

What happens after the procedure?

Usually, you can go home soon after the test.

Ask your healthcare provider:

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure and any risks. Some possible risks include:

Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

healthinformatics info

Reference Sources:

Budoff MJ, Achenbach S, Blumenthal RS, et al. Assessment of coronary artery disease by cardiac computed tomography: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Committee on Cardiovascular Imaging and Intervention, Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention, and Committee on Cardiac Imaging, Council on Clinical Cardiology. Circulation 2006; 114:1761.

Mark DB, Berman DS, Budoff MJ, et al. ACCF/ACR/AHA/NASCI/SAIP/SCAI/SCCT 2010 expert consensus document on coronary computed tomographic angiography: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation Task Force on Expert Consensus Documents. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2010; 76:E1.


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Last Modified: 2013-08-08

Last Reviewed: 2013-06-16

Website Updated: March 2014

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This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.


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