Cardiac CT Imaging Patient Prep

Cardiac CT imaging uses a state of the art 64-slice multi-row CT scanner and a computer to create three-dimensional views of the heart and blood vessels. Numerous images are obtained in a single breath-hold. These images recreate heart function and are used to assess cardiac and coronary artery function by evaluating soft and hard plaque structures, wall thickening, blood flow, blood volume, expansion and compression. Together these images provide an excellent view of heart health and can help project the patient’s future risk for heart attack or stroke. Washington Radiology offers several types of Cardiac CT studies, based on the particular needs of the patient as identified by the referring physician:

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring is a noninvasive screening test used to determine the presence and severity of coronary artery disease. Using a CT scanner and special software, WRA can visualize and measure the level of coronary arterial calcification. Cardiac scoring is the most sensitive program available for detecting coronary artery calcification. However, the amount of calcium does not correlate directly with the narrowing of a single artery, but does correlate with the overall severity of plaque (atherosclerosis) in the coronary arteries. Multiple studies have shown that the coronary calcium score can determine the risk of a future cardiovascular event. Coronary artery calcium screening may be performed by itself or in conjunction with Cardiac CT Angiography.

Indications for prescribing a CT Coronary Artery Calcium Screening include: men over age 45 and women over age 55 who have at least two of the following risk factors: obesity, hypertension, family history of coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and history of smoking.

This scan can be performed at our 2141 K Street, Chevy Chase and Sterling offices. As a screening study, this exam may be covered by insurance if the referring physician can present a specific reason or symptom. As always, we ask patients to check with their insurance plan prior to scheduling any study at WRA.

Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography

A Cardiac CT Angiography (also called a Cardiac CTA) is a fast, noninvasive, reliable heat-imaging test used to identify and assess the coronary arteries (for narrowing), cardiac abnormalities, pericardial disease and surrounding non-cardiac disease.

WRA uses a 64 multi-slice CT scanner to perform cardiac CTA studies. During the exam, X-rays pass through the body and are picked up by special detectors in the CT scanner. This higher number of detectors results in clearer final images. Using an advanced 3D computer program, numerous images of the heart and coronary artery are reconstructed and analyzed during this study. Information gleaned from these images by the WRA Radiologist is formally reported to the referring physician who will then discuss the results of the exam with you.

Consult with your primary care physician if you are considering a Cardiac CT Angiography. Your doctor will make a careful assessment of your condition and the benefits of this study. Cardiac CT Angiography is gaining broader attention in medical journals for its ability to rule out significant narrowing of the major coronary arteries and to non-invasively detect “soft plaque,” or fatty matter, in the artery walls that has not yet hardened but that may lead to future problems without lifestyle changes or medical treatment.

In fact, many physicians carefully order Cardiac CTA in asymptomatic patients with higher risk for coronary disease, in patients with atypical symptoms but lower risk of coronary disease, or in patients with unclear stress-test results. However, contact your primary physician to determine if Cardiac CTA is appropriate for you.

This scan can be performed at our Sterling clinical office. Cardiac CT Angiography is typically not covered by insurance. Check with your insurance plan prior to scheduling any study at WRA.

Low Dose CT

WRA CT Center

Suburban Maryland

Chase Tower
4445 Willard Avenue, Suite 200
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815

64-Slice CT Centers

Washington, DC

University Medical Building
2141 K Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20037

Northern Virginia

Lakeside At Loudoun Tech Center I
21351 Ridgetop Circle, Suite 150
Sterling, Virginia 20166

Scheduling Appointments

Washington Radiology provides imaging services for patients upon referral from a physician. Patients are seen by appointment. However, emergencies do occur and we make every attempt to accommodate these cases. To schedule your CT study at Washington Radiology, please call: (703) 280-9800