Lakeland Health Care

64 Slice FAQ

64-Slice CT Scan Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are some Frequently Asked Questions about our 64-Slice CT Scanner.

What is a 64-Slice CT Scanner?
The 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner at Lakeland (also known as a CAT scan), is a non-invasive test that offers more detail than previous CT scanners. This combines the use of computer technology and x-rays to produce detailed pictures of different parts of the body. This advanced technology enables physicians to better see disease and treat their patients sooner than before. The CT scanner takes multiple cross-sectional images or "slices" in order to get the best picture. The CT scan can be used to view internal organs (like the abdomen or lungs), soft tissue, blood vessels (like in the heart or legs), and bone.

How do I prepare for a 64-slice CT scan?
This will depend on what test your doctor has ordered. You should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes for the exam. You may also be given a gown to wear during the exam. Please leave any of the following items at home or remove prior to the test because they may interfere with the test: jewelry, eye glasses, metal hair pieces, and dentures. You may also be asked to remove undergarments that contain metal. You may be asked to not to eat or drink for a certain amount of time prior to your exam. You may have an IV placed in order to give you contrast material or medications. Please inform the radiologist or technologist if there is any possibility that you may be pregnant or if you are breast-feeding.

When checking for heart disease what will the 64-slice scan show me?
The 64-Slice CT scanner has the capability to screen for and/or diagnose heart disease. The 64-slice CT scanner has the capability to perform Calcium Scoring , which is a way to screen for calcium (hardened plaque) in the vessels of the heart. Since calcium is an indicator of how much plaque is in the heart's arteries, the more plaque, the greater the risk of a heart attack when combined with other factors such as age, lifestyle, family history and cholesterol level.

The 64-slice CT scanner also has the capability of detecting and diagnosing heart disease. Through the use of Coronary CTA (Computed Tomography Angiography), the radiologist can visualize the blood flow in the arteries and veins in the heart (CTA can also be done to visualize the vessels in the brain, lungs, kidneys, arms, and legs). This requires the use of contrast material given in an IV to visualize the vessels.

What is the accuracy of the 64-slice scan when checking for heart disease?
Medical experts, like Dr. Jill Jacobs, a radiologist at New York University Medical Center, say the results are very definitive. For example, if the study is absolutely normal, a doctor can say with a certainty of about 97 to 98% that there is no coronary artery disease. If the opposite is true and the test shows a blockage, a doctor may then send his or her patient for a catheterization for a more accurate diagnosis.

Frequently asked questions about using the 64 Slice for Calcium Scoring
What is Calcium Scoring?
This is a non-invasive and painless screening for heart disease through the use of computed tomography (64-slice CT). The CT scan will detect a build up of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart), which is an indication that you may be at risk for a heart attack.

What is the plaque?
Plaque is a build-up of cholesterol, fat, and other substances including calcium, that can narrow or completely block the arteries that supply the heart with blood and oxygen. Plaque can also rupture causing a blood clot to form in the artery. If the adequate oxygen and blood cannot reach the heart then angina (chest pain) or a heart attack may occur.

Why should I have Calcium Scoring?
Coronary artery disease is the number one killer of American men and women. According to the American Heart Association, 50 percent of men and 64 percent of women who die suddenly of coronary artery disease had no previous symptoms. Calcium scoring may detect the early development of coronary artery disease, which may lead to a heart attack.

Who can benefit from this screening?
Calcium scoring is not or everyone. It is recommended for: Men age 35 or older and Women age 40 and older with one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoker  (past or present)
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Overweight
  • Diabetes (elevated blood sugar)
  • High blood pressure
  • Inactivity

Who should not have the test?

  • Pregnant women
  • People who already know that they have heart disease
  • Persons undergoing radiation therapy
  • Calcium Scoring exam within the past 5 years

Do I need a doctor's order or referral?
You do not need to have a doctor's order or referral for the test, although you may want to consult with your doctor first.

How much does the test cost?
Because this test is considered a screening, it is not covered by most insurance carriers, companies, or Medicare. The cost is $150.00, payable by cash, check or credit card at the time of registration.

What should I do with my results?
We encourage you to share your results with your physician. If you do not have a physician, you may call Lakeland's HealthLine at 1-800-303-8399.

Is there any risk to having this screening?
As is true with any CT scanner, the 64-Slice CT scan will expose you to a minimal level of radiation equivalent to approximately 10 chest x-rays.

How should I prepare for the test?
We ask that you avoid foods, beverages, and medications that contain caffeine and avoid exercise for 12 hours prior to your scheduled screen. The test itself will only take approximately 10 minutes, but please allow for an additional 30 minutes for preparation. 

What should I expect during the test?
You will be asked to remove any metal above the waist including jewelry and undergarments. You will lie on a scanning table for a few minutes while the CT scanner moves over your chest area to take all of the pictures required. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds during scanning.

What should I expect after the test?
You may return to normal activities. You will receive your test results in the mail within 1-2 weeks.

What should I do with my results?
We encourage you to share your results with your physician. If you do not have a physician, you may call Lakeland's HealthLine at 1-800-303-8399.

How do I schedule a Calcium Scoring appointment?
To schedule your appointment, you can call Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Saint Joseph at 269-556-2810 or Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles at 269-687-1400.

How can I find out if I am at risk for heart disease?
You may visit http://www.lakelandheartsafe.org/ and take a free online heart risk assessment. It takes about 10 minutes. You can also call 1-866-260-7544 and one of the HeartSafe staff will assist you in determining your risk factors. You may also visit one of our Health Resource Libraries to get assistance in filling out the HeartSafe survey and to learn more about heart disease.

Where is this test performed?
 
Lakeland Regional Medical Center
1234 Napier Ave.
St. Joseph, MI
269-556-2810

Lakeland Community Hospital
3900 S. St. Joseph Ave
Niles, MI
269-687-1400

A third location will be opening soon at Lakeland's Center for Outpatient Services at the intersection of Hollywood Road and Maiden Lane in St. Joseph Township.

Who performs this test?
Lakeland's board-certified radiologists review and confirm the results of the test administered by specially trained radiological technologists. Click here  to find out more about our board-certified Radiologists.


Frequently asked questions about using the 64 Slice for Coronary CT Angiography
What is Coronary CT Angiography?
This diagnostic procedure scans the chest and coronary arteries. It is a non-invasive technique that allows clear visualization of narrowed and clogged arteries that can cause heart attack. For some patients with chest pain, Coronary CT Angiography can rule out the need for cardiac catheterization.

Why should I have the 64-slice Coronary CT Angiography instead of another type of cardiac test?
Test results from older CT scanners are often unclear, especially in the early stages of heart disease. Until now, cardiac catheterization, which involves threading a catheter through the groin and into the blood vessels to detect narrowing or blockages, was the best diagnostic option.

The cutting-edge 64-slice CT scanner is the newest generation of CT scanners, capable of capturing 3-dimensional images of the heart and arteries in seconds, something no other CT scanner can offer. Since the test is performed so quickly and because the accuracy of the results, you may be able to avoid cardiac catheterization altogether.

Who can benefit from this exam?

  • An adult with high risk factors and no symptoms for coronary disease.
  • An adult with low risk factors and symptoms for coronary disease
  • Patients with unusual chest pain syndromes
  • Patients with questionable stress test results
  • Pre-op evaluation of arteries before a surgical procedure
  • To monitor patients who have had stent placements or open-heart surgeries in the past to determine if the stents or bypass grafts are still open
  • Evaluation of congenital heart abnormalities in adults


How should I prepare for the exam?

  • Please arrive two hours prior to your scheduled appointment time.
  • No caffeine 12 hours prior to exam
  • No solids by mouth four hours prior to exam.
  • Take usual medications as prescribed (including beta blockers).
  • No Viagra/Cialis/Levitra for 48 hours prior to exam and 24 hours post exam. (Patient will receive Nitroglycerine spray prior to procedure).
  • Continue drinking water.
  • No cardiovascular activity 12 hours prior to exam.
  • No Metformin 48 hours post exam.
  • If you have anxiety, please talk to your physician before your scheduled exam.]
Please arrive two hours prior to your scheduled appointment time.

  • No caffeine 12 hours prior to exam
  • No solids by mouth four hours prior to exam.
  • Take usual medications as prescribed (including beta blockers).
  • No Viagra/Cialis/Levitra for 48 hours prior to exam and 24 hours post exam. (Patient will receive Nitroglycerine spray prior to procedure).
  • Continue drinking water.
  • No cardiovascular activity 12 hours prior to exam.
  • No Metformin 48 hours post exam.
  • If you have anxiety, please talk to your physician before your scheduled exam.]


    What should I expect during the exam?

    • You will be asked to remove any metal above the waist including jewelry and undergarments.
    • An IV is placed in your arm and contrast dye is injected.
    • Cardiac monitoring leads will be attached to your chest.
    • When the exam begins, the table will move to a starting position, pause and then move to the final scanning position.
    • On the table, you'll be surrounded by a donut shaped gantry. The gantry houses the x-ray tube that generates the invisible x-ray beams.
    • The gantry produces little noise. You may only hear mechanical humming, which is the sound of the x-ray tube rotating inside the gantry.
    • During scanning, you'll be required to lie very still and hold your breath as instructed by the technician performing your exam.
      The actual scan takes approximately 30 seconds. The total procedure time is approximately 15 minutes.

    You will be asked to remove any metal above the waist including jewelry and undergarments.
  • An IV is placed in your arm and contrast dye is injected.
  • Cardiac monitoring leads will be attached to your chest.
  • When the exam begins, the table will move to a starting position, pause and then move to the final scanning position.
  • On the table, you'll be surrounded by a donut shaped gantry. The gantry houses the x-ray tube that generates the invisible x-ray beams.
  • The gantry produces little noise. You may only hear mechanical humming, which is the sound of the x-ray tube rotating inside the gantry.
  • During scanning, you'll be required to lie very still and hold your breath as instructed by the technician performing your exam.
    The actual scan takes approximately 30 seconds. The total procedure time is approximately 15 minutes.

    What is contrast dye?
    Contrast media, or dyes, help enhance the visualization of the blood vessels in your body. You may feel a slight sensation of warmth during this injection. Although contrast is not harmful, it's commonly iodine-based, which can trigger an allergic reaction in some patients. Notify your doctor of any allergies prior to your exam.

    How do I find out the results of the exam?
    Unlike the Calcium Scoring screening, this exam has to be ordered by your physician. The results of the exam will be sent to your physician who will then share the results from the exam with you.

    Where is this tests performed?

     Lakeland Regional Medical Center
    1234 Napier Ave.
    St. Joseph, MI
    269-556-2810

    Lakeland Community Hospital
    3900 S. St. Joseph Ave
    Niles, MI
    269-687-1400

    A third location will be opening soon at Lakeland's Center for Outpatient Services at the intersection of Hollywood Road and Maiden Lane in St. Joseph Township.

    Who performs this exam?
    Lakeland's board-certified radiologists review and confirm the results of the test administered by specially trained radiological technologists. Click here  to find out more about our board-certified Radiologists.

     

    Back to 64 Slice CT Sanner Page
    Click here to see Frequently Asked Questions by patients.
    Click here to learn more about our board-certified radiologist.

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