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Electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT) is a fast and sensitive test for detecting calcium build-up in the arteries of the heart. It uses an electron gun instead of regular
to scan the chest.
The amount of calcium build-up in the arteries will give your doctor an idea of whether a condition known as
has developed. This condition can lead to narrowing of the arteries,
stroke, and other serious conditions.
Varying Degrees of Atherosclerosis in Coronary Arteries
EBCT may be used to screen
coronary heart disease
(CHD). It can be used before
or after symptoms actually appear.
This test may be most useful for people at moderate risk for heart attacks.
This is important because, for many people, the first sign of CHD is a heart attack.
Your doctor will discuss your health and medical history, including any risk factors you have for CHD. This will help your doctor determine if EBCT screening is right for you.
Description of Test
You will be asked to lie down on a padded table under an arch-shaped scanner. You may remain clothed and your head will not be enclosed at any time. The scanner moves over your body and takes pictures of your internal organs. During the scan, you will be asked to hold your breath at times to help you remain motionless. A radiographer who runs the scan will be with you to answer any questions or concerns.
The EBCT software measures the calcium deposits in your arteries. This is called the calcification score. Depending on your score, your doctor will discuss any measures you should take to decrease your risk of CAD, such as exercising more or taking medication. Your doctor may also recommend more testing or surgery if your score is very high.
Cardiac CT for calcium scoring. Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated April 19, 2013. Accessed May 20, 2013.
O’Rourke R, Brundage B, et al. American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association expert consensus document on electron-beam computed tomography for the diagnosis and prognosis of coronary artery disease.
Tomography, electron beam computed. American Heart Association website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) March 28, 2011. Accessed May 20, 2013.
Ultrafast/electron beam CT scan. University of Rochester Medical Center website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed May 20, 2013.
What is coronary calcium scan? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 30, 2012. Accessed May 20, 2013
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.