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What Is A CT Coronary Angiography And Why Is It Done?
31.01.2018 17:05

CT Coronary Angiography | Image source: sterlingcare.com

There can be so many causes for chest pain, but the root of the problem can be determined only by undergoing a coronary angiogram. This test looks into the arteries that supply blood to the heart and is noninvasive.  During the test a very powerful x-ray machine is used to create images of the heart and its blood vessels.  Though the test is primarily used to check the heart for narrow or blocked arteries, it can also be used to check for various other heart conditions. 

Vital Points To Be Followed Prior To A CTCA

It is vital to not have any food intake four hours prior to the test. About 12 hours prior to the test, having caffeinated drinks must be avoided as they have the ability to increase heart rate. Water can be consumed. You might be given a steroid medication 12 hours before the test to prevent any allergic reaction to the dye that will be administered during the test. 

What Happens During the CTCA?

You will be given a loose gown to wear. Any jewelry, removable dentures, hearing aid must be removed. The technician will administered a numbing medication on the arm before inserting an IV line that injects a dye which will make all heart arteries visible.  It is injected through a small catheter which is placed in the arm’s vein. Though the actual scanning time is just a few seconds, the whole CT Coronary Angiography process can take up to an hour. 

About The CTCA Test

The CTCA is carried out using a Computer Tomography (CT), X-Rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The images produced by the test is used to detect many things such as

  • Aorta abnormalities
  • Disease in the arteries
  • Arteriovenus malformation
  • Severity of coronary artery disease 
  • Presence of atherosclerotic diseases, detect plaque in the carotid artery  
  • Obstruction in the blood vessel
  • Pulmonary embolism

During the CT Coronary Angiography test, electrocardiogram leads will be placed on your chest. The purpose for doing this is to record rhythm of the heart. The doctor may also slow down the heart rate using medication to gain motion free images of it. After the test is completed, you will be asked to wait till the technologist verifies if images of the heart are good enough for a medical interpretation.

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