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How do I prepare for the examination?

How do I prepare for the examination?

  • When you make the booking for the study, you will be asked a series of questions to help us when performing the test. You may be directed to our experienced nursing staff to answer any questions regarding any medications.
  • Please have a list of your regular medications available to facilitate the preparation for the scan on the day of your appointment.
  • Fast for solids for 4 hours prior to the examination.
  • You can take your regular medication with fluid (See comments regarding diabetes).
  • Fluid intake (non-alcoholic and non-caffeine) is encouraged to aid the excretion of the x-ray dye.
  • Please inform our staff if you could be pregnant.
  • Stop Viagra or similar substances for 48 hours prior to the study (see below)
  • Diabetics - Stop Metformin for 24 hours prior to the test and 24 hours following the test if you have known kidney problems. If you have no known kidney problems, you may only have to stop metformin for 24 hours following the study, provided you have the results of a recent kidney function test available. If you are uncertain as to whether your medication contains metformin, or you suffer from very unstable diabetes, please consult our nursing staff when making your appointment, or your doctor.
  • Please bring any relevant previous test results, X-rays or doctor’s letters on the day of the examination.
  • Don’t forget to bring the request form/letter for the study from your doctor.

What happens on the day of the examination?

  • On arrival you will be asked to fill in a consent form and answer questions regarding any risks pertaining to x-ray dye administration (especially kidney problems, asthma or diabetes).
  • A nurse or radiographer will ask you to change into an x-ray gown and will insert a small plastic tube (cannula) into a vein in your forearm. This usually occurs in the CT bed bay or a change cubicle attached to the CT room. In addition, your blood pressure, heart rate, weight and height will be measured.
  • If required, you may be given a betablocker tablet to slow down your heart rate slightly. This helps us to reduce the radiation dose to the lowest level possible.
  • Once in the CT room, ECG electrodes will be attached to your chest to synchronise the CT with your heart beat.
  • You will be given a puff of nitrate spray under the tongue to dilate the coronary arteries. This may cause a headache which should rapidly disappear, however this is rare.
  • After a couple of planning scans, the x-ray dye will be administered through the cannula in your arm. This may produce the sensation of a very hot flush in the face and trunk and sometimes the sensation of having wet yourself. This feeling wears off in 1-2 minutes. You will be instructed to hold your breath for 5-20 seconds (whilst you experience the hot sensation) during which the pictures of your heart are taken.
  • The actual time in the CT examination room is usually 10-15 minutes.
  • Please inform our staff when you will see your doctor to discuss the results.

What happens after the study?

  • The cannula in your arm will be removed by our nursing staff/radiographers and you will be able to change into your clothes.
  • There are no specific precautions to be followed after the test apart from avoiding vigorous exercise with the previously cannulated arm for 24 hours, to avoid delayed bleeding.
  • The image data collected during the scan will require workup and interpretation on the computer. This can take from 1 to 48 hours depending on the complexity of the case. You will be given the option to collect the completed study and report once completed, or we can courier it to the requesting doctor. A CD of the images will be included. Please advise us when you are seeing your doctor to discuss the results.


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Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical Specialties and Services