Cardiac CT

Cardiac CT is a heart-imaging procedure that uses a powerful and specialized X-ray machine with a computer to create 3-D pictures of the heart's anatomy, coronary circulation, and vessels. It can also determine how much calcium is in the heart’s arteries, as calcium is a marker for coronary artery disease. Inova offers a few different types of CT Scans. Your specialist will recommend the type you need.

The calcium-score screening heart scan evaluates the risk of future coronary heart disease by detecting calcium deposits in coronary arteries. It is considered the most effective tool to detect coronary calcification from atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), even before symptoms develop.

Measuring coronary calcium is a powerful independent predictor of future heart problems, so results from the scan are useful in making lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart disease.

A Cardiac CT angiogram (CTA) is a 15-30 minute scan resulting in a 3-dimensional view of the coronary blood vessels and cardiac structures.

After injecting special dye or contrast through an IV to highlight the coronary blood vessels a specialist takes detailed images to determine if the blood vessels have become narrowed due to atherosclerosis. If these blockages are present an invasive procedure, such as cardiac catheterization, may be needed. The images can also help physicians evaluate valvular abnormalities.