Coronary Calcium Scan
How It Is Done
A coronary calcium scan is usually done by a radiology technologist. The pictures are usually interpreted by a Reference radiologist Opens New Window. Other doctors, such as a Reference family medicine doctor Opens New Window, Reference internist Opens New Window, Reference cardiologist Opens New Window, or Reference surgeon Opens New Window, may also review this test.
You will need to remove any jewelry that might be in the way of the X-ray picture. You may need to take off some of your clothes. If so, you will be given a gown to use during the test. For some CT scans, you may be able to wear your clothes. If so, wear loose clothes that do not have zippers or snaps.
Small metal discs called electrodes will be put on your chest. Wires connect these to an Reference EKG Opens New Window machine that records the electrical activity of your heart on paper. The EKG records when your heart is in the resting stage, which is the best time for the CT scans to be taken.
If your heart rate is 90 beats per minute or higher, you may be given medicine to slow your heart rate.
During the test, you will lie on a table connected to the CT scanner. The scanner is a large doughnut-shaped machine.
The table slides into the round opening of the machine and the scanner moves around your body. The table will move a little every few seconds to take new pictures. You may hear clicking or buzzing sounds as the table and scanner move.
You may be asked to hold your breath for 20 to 30 seconds while pictures of your heart are taken. It is very important to hold completely still while the pictures are taken.
During the test, you are usually alone in the scanner room. But the technologist will watch you through a window. You will be able to talk with the technologist through a two-way intercom.
A coronary calcium scan takes about 30 minutes.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 21, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference George Philippides, MD - Cardiology