Got chest pain? We immediately assume our heart is to blame, but there are many causes for chest pain, and not all heart pains show up in our chest. Men and women experience heart attacks differently. Today, when diagnosing chest pain, you may need a cardiac CT scan to determine what’s going on.
A Cardiac Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
A cardiac computed tomography (CT) uses multiple X-rays beams from various angles to acquire 3D images of your heart along with surrounding vessels and structures.
This type of non-invasive procedure uses advanced CT technology with or without intravenous contrast dye. The dye helps to visualize your heart and blood vessels in real time. It allows Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center to see 3D images of your moving heart.
Specifically, the procedure will show the coronary arteries, heart chambers, muscles, heart valves, pulmonary veins, the thoracic aorta, and the sac around your heart known as the pericardium.
Pinpointing The Cause For Your Chest Pain
Having a cardiac CT scan is one way for your doctor to diagnose exactly the cause or causes for your chest pain. This 10 minute scan provides more information and detail than other imaging tests.
Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center may be looking for some of the following:
- To check for calcium or plaque buildup, any narrowing, or blockages
- To see if the aorta is functioning properly and if there are any aneurysms or dissection which is a life-threatening tear in the inner layer of the aorta
- To evaluate why you are having shortness of breath or chest pain
- To judge the function of your heart valves
- To plan for transcatheter valve procedures
- To plan for arrhythmia ablation procedures or complications from a previous one
- To look at the sac around your heart for fluid or calcification
The doctor will also be looking for masses near your heart as well as a congenital heart problem.
Depending on what the images show, your physician may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, treatments, or procedures that need to be done to relieve the chest pain.