The technologist will help you complete an exam questionnaire.

You may be given a gown to wear during the exam.

The technologist will then position you on the CT examination table lying flat on your back. Straps and pillows may be used to help you maintain the correct position and to hold still during the exam. You will then be asked to keep your hands above your head.

Electrodes (small, sticky discs) will be attached to your chest and to an electrocardiograph (ECG) machine that records the electrical activity of the heart. This makes it possible to record CT scans when the heart is not actively contracting. (Men may expect to have their chest partially shaved to help electrodes stick.)

Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Then, the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed.

The high-speed CT scan captures multiple images, synchronized with your heartbeat. A sophisticated computer program, guided by the technologist, then analyzes the images for presence of calcification within the coronary arteries.

Patients are asked to hold their breath for a period of 10 to 20 seconds while images are recorded.

When the examination is completed, you will be asked to wait until the technologist verifies that the images are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation.

The entire procedure including the actual CT scanning is usually completed within 10 minutes.