A state-of-the art cardiac CT scanner is showing huge promise just weeks into operation.

On Thursday, the Montfort Hospital will officially unveil a roughly $2.5 million dollar CT scanner with a specialized cardiac diagnostic function. The device was first turned on in mid-September and has already been used to diagnose a number of serious heart conditions. 

"We can actually image the heart when it's still, so we can get clear photos of the anatomy so it can be accessed to see if there is disease," said Sean Boyle, a medical radiation technologist at the hospital.

The CT (computerized tomography) scanner is a non-invasive procedure that for cardiac patients, is connected to an electrocardiogram (EKG) or a device that monitors heart rhythms and the heart's electrical activity. Boyle said this scanner is faster than others and can take an image of the heart, when it's still, in about 0.275 seconds. 

"It really goes fast and it is connected to the patient using an EKG," he said. "We monitor the patient's heartbeat and when their heart is at rest or not beating, that is when we actually take the picture." 

Kevin Ciesielski was among the first patients to benefit from the machine back in late September.

"It saved my life," Ciesielski said. "I went from really not knowing anything was wrong, not thinking I was sick, to top of the list to get surgery done."

Ciesielski, a healthy and active Ottawa man, was diagnosed with heart disease in late September after experiencing occasional bouts of shortness of breath. His faint symptoms, combined with wide range of negative tests, made the CT results so shocking; three arteries were 90% to 95% blocked.

Ciesielski had triple bypass surgery six days after his cardiac CT scan.

"Without knowing I had those blockages, certainly the prognosis would not have been good," he said.

Ciesielski condition is coined "the widow maker" because most cases as severe are only discovered during an autopsy. Ciesielski's doctor said he was on track to have a major heart attack within about six months.

Instead, he is one month into his recovery journey and expected to make a full recovery.

"It will take some time and hard work, but I expect to get back there quite quickly," he said.

The new scanner is currently doing cardiac scans twice a week with plans to ramp up service by the new-year. The machine is being used to do scans of other body parts. 

The hospital's fundraising campaign, 'for you sweet heart', is on-going.