Cardiac computed tomography, commonly known as cardiac CT, is a painless test that uses an x-ray machine to take clear, detailed pictures of the heart. This common test is used to look for problems in the heart.
During a cardiac CT scan, an x-ray machine will move around your body in a circle. The machine will take a picture of each part of your heart. A computer will put the pictures together to make a three-dimensional (3D) picture of the whole heart. Sometimes an iodine-based dye (contrast dye) is injected into one of your veins during the scan. The contrast dye travels through your blood vessels, which helps highlight them on the x-ray pictures.
The test involves radiation, although the amount of radiation used is considered small, it's similar to the amount of radiation you're naturally exposed to over a 3-year period. There's a small chance that cardiac CT will cause cancer because of the radiation involved.
After the cardiac CT scan is done, you'll be able to return to your normal activities. A doctor who has experience with CT will provide your doctor with the results of your scan. Your doctor will discuss the findings with you.