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What happens during an ultrafast computed tomography (CT) scan?

An ultrafast computed tomography (CT), a procedure used to diagnose heart disease, may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices.

Generally, an ultrafast CT follows this process:
  1. You will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the procedure.
  2. If you are asked to remove clothing, you will be given a gown to wear.
  3. You will lie on a scan table that slides into a large, circular opening of the scanning machine. Pillows and straps may be used to prevent movement during the procedure.
  4. The technologist will be in another room where the scanner controls are located. However, you will be in constant sight of the technologist through a window. Speakers inside the scanner will enable the technologist to communicate with and hear you. You will have a call button so that you can let the technologist know if you have any problems during the procedure. The technologist will be watching you at all times and will be in constant communication.
  5. The scanner will begin to rotate around you and low-dosage x-rays will pass through the body for short amounts of time. You will hear clicking sounds, which are normal.
  6. The x-rays absorbed by the body's tissues will be detected by the scanner and transmitted to the computer. The computer will transform the information into an image to be interpreted by the radiologist.
  7. It will be important for you to remain very still during the procedure.
  8. At intervals, you will be instructed to hold your breath, or to not breathe, for a few seconds. You will then be told when you can breathe. You should not have to hold your breath for longer than a few seconds, so this should not be uncomfortable.
  9. Once the procedure has been completed, you will be removed from the scanner.
  10. You may be asked to wait for a short time while the radiologist reviews the scans to make sure they are clear and complete.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.