Ultrafast/Electron Beam CT Scan

How Does an Ultrafast Electron-Beam CT Scan Differ from X-rays and CT Scans?

Chest x-ray

Chest x-rays aim a beam of energy at your child's heart. A plate behind the body captures the variations of the energy beam after it passes through skin, bone, muscle, and other tissues.

While doctors can obtain a great deal of data from an x-ray, it doesn't provide detailed images of the heart and other internal organs.

CT scan of the heart

In a CT scan, the x-ray beam moves in a circle around your child's body. A computer interprets the x-ray beam and displays a detailed, two-dimensional image of your child's heart on a screen.

Ultrafast CT scan

At the Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, we offer a newer technology — called ultrafast CT (also known as electron-beam tomography, or EBT) — to diagnose heart disease in some cases.

Ultrafast CT:

  • Takes multiple images of the heart within the time of a single heartbeat.
  • Provides more detail about the heart's function and structures in a shorter amount of time than a standard CT scan.

A 3D version of ultrafast CT can assess the pulmonary arteries and veins in the lungs, or check certain heart defects after birth.

Depending on the results of the ultrafast CT scan, your child may need other tests to help the doctor diagnose his or her heart problem.

Make an Appointment for an Ultrafast CT Scan

To make an appointment or learn more about ultrafast CT, contact the Heart Institute at UPMC Children's Hospital at 412-692-5540.

Learn More About X-rays and CT Scans