What to Expect the Day of the Scan

Patients should plan to arrive at the hospital 30-40 minutes prior to their scheduled scan time. This will provide enough time for registration and pre-test preparation.

Outpatients arriving for a cardiac CT should park in the Blue Parking Garage (formerly called Parking Pavilion I) and walk past the front entrance of the main hospital, toward the circular drive and through the doors marked Washington Cancer  Institute. Patients should register at the Cancer Institute front desk.

 

After registration, a nurse or technologist will bring patients from the waiting area to the holding room to prepare them for the test. The nurse will take a brief medical history, review the procedure and answer any questions. S/he will start an IV and may administer a small dose of medication in preparation for the scan. The radiology technologist will then take the patient to the scanner to begin the test.

For the cardiac CT, the patient lies flat on a table that passes through a circular machine. His or her head and feet extend outside of the machine on either end. Only about 15 inches of the patient's body are actually inside the machine. It is important not to move during the test. The actual amount of time in the scanner room is only about ten minutes.

After the scan, patients are monitored briefly (five to ten minutes) in the holding room before being sent home. Sedation is not required for cardiac CT, and patients should be able to resume normal activities after the test. They should drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Results of the scan are sent to the referring physician. Patients should follow-up with their physician to discuss the findings.