Your Healthy Family: What is a heart CT scan? - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: What is a heart CT scan?

Do you know what a heart CT scan is? Do you know what a heart CT scan is?

Have you heard of a heart CT scan?  I recently learned what is it and who should consider getting one after my primary care doctor urged me in November to get the scan of my heart because of my family history and my health.  A heart CT is not generally covered by insurance, but it can provide valuable information as I found out.

Dr. Michael Perry, D.O. a Cardiologist at UCHealth Memorial in Colorado Springs explains, "A heart CT scan is computed tomography, and just like a CAT scan of any part of your body the heart CT scan focus on the heart itself to assess several things.  It can look at the structure of your heart.  You can also look at the function of your heart and how the valves are behaving, whether or not you have congenital anomalies in blood vessels.  A basic heart scan also includes a calcium score."

A calcium score is an indicator of coronary disease, we'll get to mine in another story.  As for the scan it’self, I found out it’s painless and took less than 10 minutes once I was on the table.

Dr. Perry says for a typical heart CT scan, “What happens is they slide you in and they position your body under the scanner, to make sure they have it where that want it.  You are asked to hold your breath for a brief and seconds to calm everything down and reduce motion in the chest.”

Who should consider getting a heart CT scan?  Dr. Perry says, “It's a very reasonable thing to consider if your risk is considered intermediate.  There are patients out there who come in (for a scan) that are at very low risk. They don't have a lot of traditional cardiac risk factors.  Those risk factors include non-modifiable things in your history that you can't change.  Things like your gender, age or genetics.  Modifiable behaviors would be cholesterol, if your diabetic, overweight, or have high blood pressure, issues like that."  Dr. Perrys says depending on your risk factors, there are some who may not be a good candidate for a heart CT.  “If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, or If you're someone who has been exposed to a lot of radiation whether through other medical imaging, or through an occupation then that would be a discussion between you and your doctor."

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