Cardiac CT is a heart-imaging test that combines multiple X-ray images to produce detailed views of the heart’s anatomy, coronary circulation, and great vessels – depending on the exam your doctor recommends, this may be done using contrast dye which highlights the blood vessels and creates more detailed images of plaque.

There are a few types of CT scans available through Inova Heart and Vascular Institute that are used in the diagnosis of heart disease, including:

  1. Calcium-score screening heart scan
  2. Coronary CT angiography (CTA)

How to receive a cardiac CT at Inova

To receive a cardiac CT at Inova, you must have a valid written order from your doctor. Once you have your prescription order in hand, please contact our radiology centralized scheduling line at 571-423-5400. For Loudoun County locations, please call 703-858-6470.

What is a Calcium-Score Screening Heart Scan?

The calcium-score screening heart scan is used to evaluate rick for future coronary heart disease. This study detects calcium deposits found in coronary arteries and is a state-of-the-art application considered the most effective early detection device for coronary calcification from atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) as it detects calcification before symptoms develop. Measurement of the amount of coronary calcium present has been recognized as a powerful independent predictor of future heart problems so results from the study are useful in making lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of heart disease.

What is a Cardiac CT Angiogram (CTA)?

A Cardiac CT angiogram (CTA) begins with very thin CT images obtained after iodine contrast is injected through an IV. Then a 3-dimensional picture of the blood vessels is created.

This technique gives detailed anatomy of the blood vessels and the extent of the plaque. The study gives physicians further information on whether a patient should be sent for an invasive procedure, such as cardiac catheterization. The CT images can also be used to evaluate valvular abnormalities. CTA examinations are very quick, taking between 15-30 minutes to perform.

66 year-old with a history of borderline cholesterol elevation had a calcium score, coronary CTA which showed significant disease in one of the major arteries. He had been complaining of some pain which had been attributed to heart burn. Cardiac catheterization verified a significant blockage and patient received a stent without any complications.