What is an EBCT scan?

EBCT (electron-beam computed tomography) – also known as a calcium-score screening heart scan –  is a test used to detect calcium deposits found in atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries. A cardiologist may use this scan to assess the patient’s risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) in the future. The test can also help determine whether patients will require angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery.

What happens during an EBCT?

Small, sticky electrode patches are placed on the chest. These patches are attached to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor, which charts the heart's electrical activity during the test. The high-speed CT scan captures multiple images, synchronized with the heartbeat.

The images are then analyzed to find out whether calcium is present within the coronary arteries. If calcium is present, the computer will create a calcium score that estimates the extent of CAD. This score also helps the cardiologist decide on the best treatment for the patient and whether angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery will be needed.