At UCSD we have state-of the art CT scanners to image your heart and powerful 3D imaging tools to find and calculate your total calcium score.
At UCSD, you benefit from the expertise of our cardiologists as well as our radiologists, since they work in tandem. Our cardiac radiologists have found how to obtain excellent images of your heart with the lowest radiation dose and the least amount of contrast. By using CT and cardiac gating, we can “freeze” the heart, generating exquisite images of your coronary arteries. We can provide the same, if not greater, detail of the coronary arteries and heart than a cardiac catheterization, with much less risk to you. CT scanning allows us to see the wall and the lumen, rather than just the lumen alone of the coronary arteries.
This exam usually requires contrast. Your scheduler will ask you many questions to make sure you are safe to receive the contrast. You may need to take a blood test to make sure your kidney function is within normal. Please let us know of any allergies that you have.
For this exam, it is important to have a relatively low and steady heart rate so that the images are not blurred by heart motion. You will take a oral medication one hour prior to the exam. This should help to keep your heart rate at or below 70 beat per minute. Our caring staff of nurses and doctors will monitor your heart rate before and during the exam for the best possible images. The actual scan takes only a few minutes, but the preparation before hand can take as long as one hour.
If you would like to see a list of the questions we might ask please see CT Scanning: Preparation.