CT Scan

Computed tomography (CT) is a fast, noninvasive imaging test which uses a rotating x-ray source (ionizing radiation) to create high resolution images of your internal organ. The CT scanner is a large, donut-shaped machine that allows us to characterize potential disease processes. CT can be used to evaluate numerous conditions, including chest pain, bone pain, back pain, headache, neurologic symptoms, abdominal pain, abnormal laboratory tests, vascular abnormalities, sinus disease, and various tumors/masses.  We also use CT in lung cancer screening and coronary calcium scoring.

*Our current CT Scanner utilizes General Electrics’ ASIT Technology which reduces radiation exposure up to 40%.

Sometimes, an IV will be placed to administer intravenous contrast material to help better define a specific structure or disease process. Patients with renal failure cannot receive IV contrast, so please alert the CT technologist if you have any history of kidney disease (kidney failure, kidney surgery, kidney cancer, single kidney).  Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure may be at risk for kidney disease. Also please alert the technologist if you believe you are allergic to IV contrast (iodine).   Because CT uses radiation, in most cases an alternative test is used in pregnant women. Please alert the technologist if there is a chance you may be pregnant.

During your CT exam, you will be asked to lie on a padded table that glides into the scanner; the scanner is open on both ends. You may communicate with the technologist at any time during your procedure with our intercom system. If you receive IV contrast, you may feel warm/flushed, and you may experience a metallic taste. These findings are normal. If you feel itching, facial swelling, or have difficulty breathing, alert the technologist immediately as these symptoms may indicate an allergic reaction.

*The most important thing a patient can do during an CT exam is remain as still as possible!*

Most CT exams last 5 to 10 minutes. The CT technologist will tell you in advance how long your exam is expected to last. Alert the technologist if you have any questions or feel anything unusual. After the exam, there are no restrictions on your activity. If you receive IV contrast, it is important to stay hydrated. Once the images have been obtained, they will be sent electronically to the radiologist, who will interpret the exam and generate a report for your doctor. You should follow up with your healthcare provider as directed to receive the results of your CT.

We try in every way to make your imaging exam pleasant! As always, please let us know what we can do to improve your experience.

Calcium-Score Screening Heart Scan

A calcium-score screening heart test (coronary calcium scan) uses computerized tomography (CT) to detect calcium deposits in the coronary arteries of your heart. A higher coronary calcium-score suggests you have a higher chance of significant narrowing in the coronary arteries and a higher risk of future heart attack.

Who should get a calcium-score screening?

You should consider a calcium scan if you are between ages 40-70 and at increased risk for heart disease but do not have symptoms. People at increased risk include those with the following traits:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Past or present smoker
  • History of high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Overweight
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Other non-traditional risk factors

If you are less than 40 years old and high cholesterol runs in your family (familial hypercholesterolemia), you might consider a calcium scan.

Note: Because there are certain forms of coronary disease -- such as "soft plaque" atherosclerosis – that escape detection during this CT scan, it is important to remember that this test is not absolute in predicting your risk for a life-threatening event, such as a heart attack.

Who should not get a calcium scan?

If you have a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, symptoms that are suspicious of coronary artery disease or prior treatment for coronary artery disease, coronary calcium scan may not be for you. Talk with your healthcare provider about other types of testing to diagnose or monitor your coronary artery disease.

What happens during the test?

You will lie on a special scanning table.

The technologist will clean three small areas of your chest and place small, sticky electrode patches on these areas. Men may expect to have their chest partially shaved to help the electrodes stick. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph (EKG) monitor, which charts your heart’s electrical activity during the test.

During the scan, you will feel the table move inside a donut-shaped scanner. The high-speed CT scan captures multiple images, synchronized with your heartbeat. A sophisticated computer program, guided by the cardiovascular radiologist, then analyzes the images for presence of calcification within the coronary arteries.

Absence of calcium is considered a "negative" exam. It does not exclude the presence of "soft" non-calcified plaque.

If calcium is present, the computer will create a calcium score that estimates the extent of coronary artery disease.

The CT scan takes only a few minutes, but the entire procedure may take about 15 minutes.

***There may be an out of pocket cost for this exam if your insurance does not cover it.

MRI is provided at the following locations:


For More CT Resources:

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MRI Albany New York
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CT Scan Albany New York
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