Computerized tomography – also called CT, CT scan or CAT scan – is an x-ray that produces detailed images of your internal organs. CTs use an x-ray-sensing unit that rotates around the patient to create cross-sectional images (like slices) of the inside of the body.
For example, a conventional x-ray of the abdomen shows bones as well as the subtle outlines of the liver, stomach, intestines, kidney and spleen. In addition, a CT can reveal the pancreas, adrenal glands, uterus and blood vessels – all with a higher degree of precision. CT is a non-invasive way to view internal organs and tissues.
Unlike MRI, CT exams can be performed on patients with a pacemaker or cardioverter defibrillator. If a woman is pregnant or suspects she might be, her doctor may suggest postponing the procedure or choose an alternative exam that doesn’t involve radiation, such as an ultrasound or MRI.
We use CT to help diagnose cancer, assess stroke patients, evaluate the brain, and for pre-surgical planning. We also conduct several forms of cardiac imaging and CT angiography exams, which allow us to evaluate the renal, carotid, peripheral, intra cranial and coronary arteries of heart patients.
CT angiography (CTA)
In CT angiography (CTA), computerized tomography using a contrast material is injected into a peripheral vein to produce detailed images of both blood vessels and tissues. CT angiography is used to examine blood vessels in key areas of the body, including the brain, neck, lungs, heart, abdomen, pelvis and legs.
CT cardiac scan for calcium
A cardiac CT scan for coronary calcium is a non-invasive way of obtaining information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries—the vessels that supply oxygen-containing blood to the heart muscle. Calcified plaque results when there is a build-up of fat and other substances under the inner layer of the artery. This material can calcify which signals the presence of atherosclerosis, a disease of the vessel wall, also called coronary artery disease (CAD). People with this disease have an increased risk for heart attacks. Because calcium is a marker of CAD, the amount of calcium detected on a cardiac CT scan is a helpful prognostic tool.
Cardiac MRI imaging is another way to evaluate the anatomy and function of the heart, valves, major vessels and surrounding structures.
CT colonography, like conventional colonography, is a tool to screen for polyps or cancers in the large intestine. Polyps are growths that arise from the inner lining of the intestine. Some polyps may grow and turn into cancers.
A CT colonography is performed when conventional colonography (for a colonoscopy) does not provide accurate results. The goal of colonography screening is to find growths in their early stages, so that they can be removed before cancer has had a chance to develop.