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Tests for Heart & Vascular Disease

Computed Tomography

A CT scan uses x-rays combined with a computer to make “3-D” pictures of a cross-section of part of your body. This allows the radiologist to see the bones and soft tissues inside your body more clearly than with standard x-rays.

Sacred Heart has three 64-slice CT scanners. This kind of scanner is the fastest and most advanced system of its kind. It produces three-dimensional, high-definition color pictures of most organs in a matter of seconds. There are two 64-slice CT scanners at Sacred Heart at RiverBend. One of these is a bariatric CT scanner, designed to accommodate larger patients. There is also a 64-slice CT scanner at Sacred Heart, University District.

The length of your CT scan depends upon your needs. An exam of the head usually takes about 10 minutes. All other exams usually take 30 to 40 minutes.

How CT Is Done

During the test, you will lie on a table that is hooked to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends x-ray pulses through the body. Each pulse lasts less than a second and takes a picture of a thin slice of the organ or area being studied. One part of the scanning machine can tilt to take pictures from different positions. The pictures are saved on a computer.

A CT scan can be used to study any body organ, such as the liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands, lungs and heart. It also can study blood vessels, bones and the spinal cord. An iodine dye (contrast material) is often used to make structures and organs easier to see on the CT pictures. The dye may be used to check blood flow, find tumors, and look for other problems. Dye can be put in a vein (IV) in your arm, or you may drink the dye for some tests. CT pictures may be taken before and after the dye is used.

 
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