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What should I expect during cardiac computed tomography (CT)?

For a contrast enhanced cardiac CT angiogram you will change into a hospital gown. The nurse will insert an IV line into a vein in your arm to administer the contrast dye during the procedure. We will put you on the CT scanning table and we will put some electrocardiographic electrodes or sticky pads on your chest to monitor your heartbeat. The CT scanner will use this to know when to take the pictures. We will then ask you to hold your breath for a very short period of time and during this period while you hold your breath, we will inject the IV contrast dye and as the IV contrast dye is coming through the arteries we will take some pictures. The contrast coming through may cause a warm feeling or warm sensation and sometimes feels like you may have to urinate, but this is only very brief. After the pictures are taken, the IV will be removed and you will change back to your clothes and you will be able to go home immediately after the procedure.

Theodore A. Monitz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

You should expect the following during your CT scan: You will change into a hospital gown and a nurse will insert an intravenous line in your arm to give you contrast (dye) during your procedure. You will lie on a special scanning table and will have electrodes placed on your chest. Some men may have to have a small area of their chest shaved to help the electrodes stick. These electrodes are attached to an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor, which monitors your heart's electrical activity during the test. You will be asked to raise your arms above your head and you may feel the table move inside a donut-shaped scanner. You may be asked to hold your breath up to 30-40 seconds. It is very important to follow the directions of the technician. You will receive a contrast agent (radiographic dye) through the intravenous to help produce the images. You may observe a warm sensation as the contrast circulates through your body, but this will not last very long. Once the technologist is sure that the information is collected, the intravenous will be removed. The procedure itself takes about 15 minutes.

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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.