When a person is diagnosed with heart disease, it can be because of many different factors. The first of these factors might have to do with genetic predispositions. For example, many people, regardless of how diligent they are about their weight and what they eat, get high cholesterol and high blood pressure because they inherited it.
Regardless of how a person ends up with heart disease, a preventative test that is often done is a CT angiography. This preventative test is actually administered in the form of an advanced scan. The CT angiography checks for many different things. However, it most prevalently used to check for irregularities in the blood vessels, such as the risk of a clot or an aneurysm.
Although genetics do indeed play a significant part in a person getting heart disease, so do diet and exercise. For example, when a person eats a lot of food that is high in fat, then the body cannot process much of that additional fat. The blood system absorbs all of the nutrients in the food that people eat, and unfortunately this can also include fat. So, the excess fat not only starts becoming visible in the form of weight gain, but it also ends up accumulating in the arteries, which is when a CT angiography comes in.
In order to have a better understanding of how the procedure itself works, it is important to have a basic understanding of the machinery that is used during the scan. The machine itself resembles a large tube, with a hole in the middle that provides a narrow table for the patient to lie down on. When the scan is working, the upper part of the machine actually rotates around the patient.
Of course, all of this cannot happen without the patient first being properly prepared for the CT angiography. The patient will need to arrive to the outpatient facility in which the scan is taking place wearing comfortable clothing that does not have any metal in it. This is a very important part of the preparation, because the metal will otherwise throw off the efficiency of the scanning machine.
Next, the patient will be asked to lie down on the examining table. At this point, depending on what the scan is checking for, the patient may or may not need contrast material given via an intravenous. The contrast material is something that will further highlight the various blood vessels that the scanning machine is checking. Next, the table on which the patient (who will be given a pillow for additional comfort) is laying will be inserted into the scanning machine.
Ironically, while it takes fifteen to twenty minutes for the patient to be prepared for the scan, the scan itself takes only about a minute to complete! The scan pictures are transmitted to a nearby computer that a technician is monitoring. After the scan has been completed, the patient will have to wait so that the technician can check to see if the pictures have come out correctly. Once that has been confirmed, in most cases the patient can return to his or her regular activities.
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