EBT Screening

Electron beam tomography (EBT) is a safe and highly accurate technology for detecting the presence of calcium deposits.  Measuring the amount of calcium present in coronary arteries gives doctors a way to measure the progression of cardiovascular disease.

Because the heart is in constant, rapid motion, it is difficult for other types of scanners to produce an image that is not blurry.  Other tests require an injection of beta blockers an hour in advance, which slows the heartbeat.  In contrast, EBT was specifically designed to produce sharp images of the heart while it is beating at normal speed.

EBT is:

  • Quick – the test itself takes only a few seconds, and you don’t even have to take off your clothes;
  • Non-invasive – no injections are required;
  • Safe – it uses much less radiation than other types of tests and requires no injections; and
  • Accurate – various clinical studies have shown that EBT is more accurate than other screening methods in determining the amount of calcium in coronary arteries.

EBT can detect cardiovascular disease at its earliest stages, long before you have any symptoms.  And the earlier the disease is discovered, the more chance there is of preventing a heart attack in the future.

The Heart Health Center uses the GE eSpeed C300 scanner. Read about how it works.

Here is an actual EBT image showing extensive calcium plaques in the coronary arteries:

EBT image

Normal blood vessels and heart muscle are gray in this scan.  Areas of calcium (whether in arteries or bone) show up bright white.  The structure at the top of the image is the breastbone (sternum).