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Cardiac Computed Tomography Scan

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

What do I need to know about a cardiac computed tomography scan?

A cardiac computed tomography (CT) scan is a test that uses x-rays to take pictures of your heart. It is also called a cardiac computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.

How do I prepare for a cardiac CT?

Your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your cardiac CT. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything for 2 to 4 hours before your cardiac CT. Tell your provider if you think you are pregnant.

What will happen during a cardiac CT?

Your healthcare provider will ask you to lie on a table. He or she may give you medicine to control your heart rate. He or she will inject contrast dye into an IV to help your heart and blood vessels show up better. The table will be moved into an open space in the middle of the machine. You will need to lie still during the cardiac CT.

What are the risks of a cardiac CT?

The contrast dye used may cause an allergic reaction. You may get a rash, itching, or trouble breathing. If you are pregnant, a cardiac CT may be harmful to your unborn baby. Contrast dye may cause kidney problems, and result in kidney failure. The radiation from a cardiac CT may increase your risk for cancer.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.