Benefits vs Risks of a Cardiac CT
Cardiac CT Benefits
- Cardiac CT for calcium scoring is a convenient and noninvasive way of evaluating whether you may be at increased risk for a heart attack.
- The exam takes little time, causes no pain, and does not require injection of contrast material.
- No radiation remains in a patient's body after a CT examination.
- X-rays used in CT scans usually have no side effects.
Cardiac CT Risks
- There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
- The effective radiation dose from this procedure is about the same as the average person receives from background radiation in eight months. Newer scanners may even use less radiation.
- Women should always inform their doctor and CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
- CT scanning is, in general, not recommended for pregnant women unless medically necessary because of potential risk to the baby.
- A high calcium score may sometimes be followed by other diagnostic tests for heart disease, which may not be necessary and might cause side effects.