Cardiac CT involves radiation, although the amount used is considered small. Depending on the type of CT scan you have, the amount of radiation is similar to the amount you’re naturally exposed to over 1–5 years.
There is a small chance that cardiac CT will cause cancer because of the radiation. The risk is higher for people younger than 40 years old. New cardiac CT methods are available that reduce the amount of radiation used during the test.
Cardiac CT scans are painless. Some people have side effects from the contrast dye that might be used during the scan. An itchy feeling or a rash may appear after the contrast dye is injected. Normally, neither side effect lasts for long, so medicine often isn't needed.
If you do want medicine to relieve the symptoms, your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine. This type of medicine is used to help stop allergic reactions.
Although rare, it is possible to have a serious allergic reaction to the contrast dye. This reaction may cause breathing problems. Doctors use medicine to treat serious allergic reactions.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Cardiac CT, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
January 31, 2013
Next-generation CT scanner provides better images with minimal radiation
A new computed tomography (CT) scanner substantially reduces potentially harmful radiation while still improving overall image quality. National Institutes of Health researchers, along with engineers at Toshiba Medical Systems, worked on the scanner. An analysis of data on 107 patients undergoing heart scans found that radiation exposure was reduced by as much as 95 percent compared to the range of current machines, while the resulting images showed less blurriness, reduced graininess, and greater visibility of fine details.
November 20, 2013
Gary H. Gibbons
New NHLBI Program Trains Scientists to Bring More Science Out of the Lab and into the Patient Care Marketplace
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