Cardiac CT scan

CT coronary angiogram with calcium scoring. A cardiac CT scan offers a non-invasive technique to evaluate the heart arteries and structure of the heart using X-rays.

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What is a Cardiac CT scan?

This scan is a form of diagnostic imaging using Computed tomography (CT), where high-resolution X-rays, create 3D images of your heart and coronary arteries. This scan is able to accurately detect the presence and extent of different plaques within your arteries, before they are detectable by other techniques. 

Often this scan is preceded by a heart calcium scan. This enables the measurement of calcified plaque within the heart arteries. This provides a powerful estimate of your risk of future heart attacks and permits the commencement of early protective treatment.

What happens during a cardiac CT scan?

The Harley Street Clinic is proud to be able to offer the latest and most accurate diagnostic equipment in CT scanning. In this video, Prof Ronak Rajani explains how a CT scan works and what happens during a cardiac CT scan.

Need to know

A CT scan usually lasts between 15 to 20 minutes and is done as an outpatient appointment. After a small drip (cannula) has been inserted in your arm, you’ll be escorted into the scanning room where you’ll be asked to lie comfortably on your back on the scanning table.

Four heart activity sensors will be positioned on your chest to obtain still images of your heart. An x-ray dye is injected into the drip, and the pictures are acquired as you move through the doughnut-shaped scanner. The total time you can expect to be on the scanner is approximately five minutes. After the scan you will be disconnected from heart activity sensors and escorted back into the waiting room.

Your consultant will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have. You’ll be asked not to consume a heavy meal for at least four hours prior to the scan, and to avoid caffeine-based products for up to 12 hours before your appointment. You may also be asked to take some tablets prior to your scan, these are to safely slow down and regulate your heart rate (beta-blockers). This helps to ensure the highest quality images can be taken at the low radiation doses.

Since the test is non-invasive, you will be able to return home shortly after your scan. If you are given an intravenous beta blocker, you may be asked to wait a short while until the effects of the medication wear off and your heart rate returns to normal. You will not be able to drive for at least three hours.

The images will be reviewed by your consultant radiologist and the results will be sent to your cardiologist. Your CT scan data may also be sent on for a HeartFlow Analysis. This is a sophisticated bioengineering analysis that enables a detailed assessment of your heart arteries, to assess the impact of any blockages on blood flow. Your consultant will speak to you about your results and any next steps.

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Providing the future in heart attack prevention, today

The Harley Street Clinic are the first and only private healthcare provider in the UK to offer patients CaRi-Heart®, a revolutionary new technology that uses AI to detect underlying risks that can lead to heart attacks in the future. By using artificial intelligence, CaRi-Heart® analyses the findings of a routine CT coronary angiogram scan and measures inflammation of blood vessels in and around the heart to identify whether a patient is at risk of a heart attack.  

The service is available to patients who have a referral from either their GP or consultant and can provide reassurance to those who have pre-existing heart problems or a family of heart disease. If results suggest an increased risk of heart attack, our team can begin working with you on putting preventative measures in place. 

Our Cardiac CT scan locations

The Cardiac Clinic

The Cardiac Clinic

London Bridge Hospital SE1 2PR London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.