A heart CT scan or cardiac calcium score uses a series of X-rays to diagnose pathologies in the lungs, heart and mediastinum (area around the heart). This exam may also be used to detect some bone pathologies in this region.
A medical imaging technologist will position you on the exam table with your arms extended above your head. Three electrodes will be placed on your chest. The areas where the electrodes will be placed may have to be shaved to increase adherence. Shields are then placed over the genitals and breasts (for women) to prevent these areas from being exposed unnecessarily to radiation. You will be given instructions about when to hold your breath as the images are acquired.
A radiologist will analyze the exam and send the report to your treating physician. There are no side effects.