A cardiac CT scan is a painless imaging test that uses x rays to take many detailed pictures of your heart and its blood vessels. Computers can combine these pictures to create a three-dimensional (3D) model of the whole heart. This imaging test can help doctors detect or evaluate coronary heart disease, calcium buildup in the coronary arteries, problems with the aorta, problems with heart function and valves, and pericardial disease.
This test also may be used to monitor the results of coronary artery bypass grafting or to follow up on abnormal findings from earlier chest x rays. Different CT scanners are used for different purposes. A multidetector CT is a very fast type of CT scanner that can produce high-quality pictures of the beating heart and can detect calcium or blockages in the coronary arteries. An electron beam CT scanner also can show calcium in coronary arteries.