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Computed Tomography (CT)
What is it for?
A CT (computed tomography) scan is a common test using X-ray technology to take detailed pictures of structures inside of the body. It can provide useful information to doctors about the overall health of the heart and vascular system.
Loyola is one of the few hospitals in the state that offers CT scans of the heart.
How is it done?
You lie very still on a table that is hooked up to the CT scanner, which sends pulses of X-rays through you, taking cross-section pictures of the part of your body being examined. The pictures are viewed on a computer monitor, and can be saved and printed. An iodine dye is used to make structures and organs easier to see on the CT pictures. The dye, which is given intravenously, helps check the blood flow within the heart and vascular system. Typically, CT images will be taken before and after the dye is used, to compare pictures. Sometimes, medications are given to slow the patient’s heart rate and get a clearer picture. The test is painless, but requires the patient to lie very still, which some may find uncomfortable. The entire procedure takes about an hour, but the scan itself is usually only 15 or 20 minutes.