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64 Slice CT Scan  

What is a 64 slice CT scanner?

In computed tomography (CT) scanning, x-rays obtain image data from different angles around the body and then are processed by a computer. The images are 3 dimensional in nature and provide good resolution. The CT is an excellent technique to make a diagnosis of disorders in many different parts of the body, however, because the heart is constantly beating, CT scan could never be used to image it in the past.

Until the past few years, the technical gold standard was 16-slice CT scan, which required the patient to hold their breath for 25- to 40-seconds in the time it took to perform the scan. Today, the 64 slice CT scanner can perform the same task in just a few seconds and the images are much better.

The speed of the 64-slice CT scanner can gather a high-resolution image of a heart, brain or both lungs in less than five seconds. A scan of the whole body about 30 seconds. The speed of the 64 slice Ct scanner has also allowed for the technology to be an alternative to conventional angiography or cardiac catheterization. The procedure is less invasive and produces excellent imaging.

What is the biggest advantage of a 64 slice CT Scanner?

Today, the only way to confirm the presence of coronary artery disease is to get what is called a cardiac catheterization. This invasive procedure requires a lot of dye, large needle in the groin, bed rest for 6-8 hours and an overnight stay in the hospital. The 64 slice CT scanner is so fast that it can image the hear t and the coronary vessels in a few second. This latest generation scanner is able to non invasively capture images of any organ in one second and capture images of the heart and coronaries in fewer than five heartbeats, something no other CT system can offer.

Because the 64 slice CT scanner has only been recently available, its use in the evaluation of the heart has been limited. However, there is no doubt that it will soon replace cardiac catheterization for many elective cases.

Heart catheterization is a very commonly performed test that is safe and provides very accurate information. But, it is still an invasive test, which is one reason why this technology is being studied.

What information can be provided by a CT cardiac scan?

Because of the extremely fast speed of the scanner and the latest computer technology, one can obtain images of the heart in multiple dimensions. The coronary vessels can be visualized and the presence of any blockage easily seen.

The 64 slice CT scanner provides images of the heart in between each contraction, without causing any blurring of the images.

How is the 64 slice CT cardiac scan done?

The best heart views are obtained with a slow heart rate. Thus, some doctors will give a medication to slow the heart just prior to the procedure. The patient lies down flat on the table and the CT scan is done. The 64 slice CT scan is so fast that the entire heart is imaged in less than 15 seconds. The patient then goes home.

When can the results be available?

If prior arrangements have been made with a radiologist, the images can be read right after the scan and be ready in 30 minutes.

Who is a candidate for a 64 slice CT scan?

  • those individuals with the lowest risk of heart disease
  • young patients with questionable heart disease
  • young patients with congenital heart problems
  • individuals with an abnormal stress test and a low risk for heart disease
  • patients with atypical chest pain and low likelihood for heart disease
  • individuals with disease in their carotid arteries
  • individuals with a stroke
  • individuals with a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary emboli)
  • individuals with cancer

What are the benefits of a 64 slice CT SCAN?

  • The unprecedented coverage speed of this system allows physicians to capture a high-resolution image of the heart in 5 beats, or go head to toe in less than 10 seconds faster than any other CT scanner on the market today.
  • This pain-free procedure offers exceptional image quality which can mean better physician diagnosis, faster recovery time and increased patient comfort and convenience.
  • By providing a non-invasive study that can quickly distinguish blocked from normal coronary arteries, it can determine who is and is not at high risk of having a heart attack. This can reduce the time a patient must spend in the emergency department, or eliminate the need for hospitalization, if the exam is normal.
  • Unlike conventional angiogram, the needle is placed in the hand and not in the groin.
  • Unlike cardiac catheterization, this is an outpatient procedure.
  • The complications of the procedure itself are much less than that of a cardiac catheterization.
  • For those who have back or neck pain, this technique is much easier than a cardiac catheterization as the procedure takes a few seconds.

What are limitations of a 64 slice CT SCANNER?

Although the scanner table is built to support up to 450 pounds, it can be difficult to accommodate patients who are morbidly obese.

The CT scanner is not the best at identifying calcium precipitates around the blood vessels and may fail to detect the presence of a plaque.

In addition, if an individual has a coronary stent placed, the CT scan is unable to detect the presence of any narrowing inside the stent.

The presence of mechanical heart valves, pacemaker leads and ay other foreign body around the heart can interfere with the quality of the image.

Each scanner costs between $1.5 million to $2 million.

It does have radiation exposure and may not be suitable for pregnant females.

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EBT Scanning Technology

Electron Beam Tomography (EBT) is the only imaging technology approved by the FDA for the early detection of heart disease.

It uses a high-speed electron beam to scan the heart, non-invasively, for the presence of calcium deposits. Calcium is a marker for plaque formation, also called atherosclerosis. By measuring the amount of calcium present in and around your coronary arteries, it can provide an accurate picture of how much plaque you have accumulated. That's important, because the more plaque you have, the more likely you are to have a heart attack.

EBT captures images at 1/20th of a second far faster than imaging technologies such as CT or MRI. Speed is critically important, because your heart is in constant motion. EBT is the only non-invasive technology that's fast enough to create a clear picture of what's happening inside your arteries.

Not all heart scans are equal...insist on an EBT.

UltraFast CT (also called Multi-detector or Multi-slice CT) is sometimes promoted as a "heart scan" alternative to EBT. It is important to know the difference, because it could affect your outcome.

  • EBT is the only scanning technology approved by the FDA to image calcified plaque.
  • Only EBT has the scientific validation of hundreds of research studies at major institutions across the nation.
  • UltraFast CT may expose you to up to ten times the amount of radiation you'd receive from an EBT scan.
  • EBT is highly targeted on the heart tissue. UltraFast CT exposes more of the body to radiation, including breast tissue and vital organs.
  • EBT has proven to be extremely accurate, while UltraFast CT proved to be less accurate in clinical studies.
  • EBT is repeatable, allowing you to be monitored over time. UltraFast CT is not.

The only way to be sure you'll have accurate, repeatable results, with minimal radiation exposure, is to insist on an EBT.

For more information on scanning technology, ask your physician, visit the other pages of this website and speak with the physician from a scanning center listed on the Directory.

Scanning Technology

The term, "Body Scan", coined after a series of media broadcasts such as the Oprah Show, has found its niche in preventive medicine. Currently, a broad range of preventive scans are available including Heart Scans, Lung Scans, Body Scans, Virtual Colonoscopy Scans, and Bone Density Scans.

Some Scanning Centers provide a consultation with a physician (an initial review of your scan results) immediately following the scan. Other Scanning Centers offer no consultation but rather mail you a written report of your scan results. The Scanning Centers that offer consultations usually have special software, which give you a 3-dimensional look at the inside of your body.

CT Scanning Technology

CT Scanning technology (Spiral CT and Helical CT) has been traditionally used for diagnostic studies. CT scans have been in use for over 20 years as a diagnostic measure. However, recently, CT scanning has been implemented for preventive imaging. Many scanning centers that traditionally performed diagnostic studies have expanded their practice to include preventive scans including the Heart Scan, Lung Scan, Body Scan, Angiography Scan, Virtual Colonoscopy Scan and Bone Density Scan.

The CT Scans have very high resolution and may detect certain abnormalities at the earliest stages.

For more information on scanning technology, ask your physician, visit the other pages of this website and speak with the physician from a scanning center listed on the Directory.

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