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Ultrafast/Electron Beam CT Scan

Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

In standard x-rays, a beam of energy is aimed at the body part being studied. A plate behind the body part captures the variations of the energy beam after it passes through skin, bone, muscle, and other tissues. While much information can be obtained from a regular x-ray, specific detail about internal organs and other structures is not available.

In computed tomography (also called CT or CAT scan), the x-ray beam moves in a circle around the body, providing many different views and much greater detail of the same organ or structure. The x-ray information is sent to a computer which interprets the x-ray data and displays it in two-dimensional form on a monitor.

A newer technology called ultrafast CT (also known as electron-beam tomography, or EBT) may be used to diagnose heart disease in some cases. Ultrafast CT can take multiple images of the heart within the time of a single heartbeat, thus providing more detail about the heart's function and structures in a shorter amount of time. A three-dimensional (3-D) version of ultrafast CT may be used to assess the pulmonary arteries and veins in the lungs, or to evaluate selected heart defects after birth.

Depending on the results of the ultrafast CT scan, additional tests or procedures may be scheduled to gather further diagnostic information.

Last Update
August 21, 2012
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Last Update
August 21, 2012
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