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A cardiac CT angiogram is an exam used to evaluate the structure and function of the heart, coronary arteries and large vessels of the chest. We use a Siemens' SOMATOM Sensation Cardiac 64 CT (Computed Tomography) scanner.
Before the Exam
Before your arrival, you will be asked several questions over the telephone by our nurse to make sure that the scan (and sedation if needed) can be performed safely.
Your child will be asked not to have caffeine (coffee, chocolate, Coke, Mountain Dew) for 12 hours before the scan. They will also be asked to have nothing solid by mouth for four hours before the study. Clear liquids within that four-hour period are allowed.
If your child is going to be sedated for the study, there will be additional instructions given about the sedation and your child will be asked to have no solids by mouth for eight hours before the study. Clear liquids are allowed up to two hours before the study, but nothing can be taken by mouth for the two hours before the study.
During the Exam
When you arrive, the staff will explain the test and the equipment used. For the scan, contrast (dye) will be injected into your child's vein through an intravenous (IV) line. This line will be started by a nurse before the scan begins.
Your child will then be asked to lie on a table connected to the CT scanner and a nurse will place heart monitoring leads on the chest. Sedation or anesthesia will be given at this time, if needed. Parents can remain with their child until sedation medication is given, but they then must leave the scan area and wait in the patient waiting lounge until the scan is completed. The technologist and nurse will keep the parents informed throughout the exam.
If needed, your child will be given a beta blocker medicine through their IV line to slow the heart rate down so that the scanner can take clear pictures. Their heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level will be monitored throughout the scan.
As the exam begins, it will be very important that the child lie still and follow the instructions given by the nurse, technologist and doctor. The technologist will ask your child to hold their breath several times during the test.
As the IV contrast is injected, your child may feel warm and flushed, feel the urge to urinate and/or have a metallic taste in their mouth. These are normal effects. However, please have your child tell the staff immediately if they feel short of breath or itchy after the contrast is injected; these can be signs of a contrast reaction.
After the Procedure
If the child received a beta blocker through the IV during the scan, they will be transferred to the recovery area where a nurse will monitor their heart rate, oxygen level and blood pressure for at least one hour. The child will then be given discharge instructions and can go home.
If sedated for the study, your child will be transferred to the recovery area where a nurse will monitor their heart rate, oxygen level and blood pressure for at least one hour and until the sedation discharge criteria are met. You will then be given discharge instructions before going home.
If your child did not receive a beta blocker or sedation, they can go home as soon as the scan is completed. Your child may resume normal activities and diet after the test. Although it is rare to experience any delayed allergic reactions, please contact a doctor if any skin rash or swelling occurs.
Schedule a Cardiac CT Angiography
Please have your physician complete a request form and fax it to Lurie Children's to 312.227.9640. Your physician will also need to provide us with a recent history and physical examination form to ensure that it is safe for us to perform this test.