A computerized tomography CT coronary angiogram is an imaging test that looks at the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It might be used to diagnose the cause of the chest pain or for the other symptoms.
A CT coronary angiogram relies it on a powerful X-ray machine that produces the images of the heart and its blood vessels. These tests are non-invasive and do not require a recovery time. Coronary CT angiograms are increasingly an option for people with a variety of heart conditions.
A traditional (not CT-based) coronary angiogram requires that a flexible tube (catheter) be threaded through your groin or arm to your heart or coronary arteries. If you have known coronary artery disease, your Cardiology doctor might recommend a traditional coronary angiogram because you can also receive treatment during that procedure.
Why it’s done
A coronary CT angiogram can check the heart in various conditions, but it is used primarily to check for the narrowed or blocked arteries in the heart (coronary artery disease). If that test suggests that have the heart disease for you and your health care provider can discuss for treatment options.
It will be exposed to some radiations during the test. The amount will varies by depending on the type of machine used. The risk of developing cancer from a CT angiogram isn’t known, but it’s small. It will be possible that you could have an allergic reaction to the dye which is used in the procedure. Talk to the doctor if are concerned about having an allergic reaction.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
Many physicians advocate the careful use of CCTA for patients who have:
- Suspected abnormal anatomy of the coronary arteries.
- Low or intermediate risk for coronary artery disease, that includes the patients who have the chest pain, non-diagnostic or unclear lab and ECG results.
- Low to intermediate risk atypical chest pain in the emergency department.
- Non-acute chest pain.
- New or worsening symptoms with a previous normal stress test result.
- Unclear or inconclusive stress test results.
- Intermediate risk of coronary artery disease before the non-coronary cardiac surgery.
- Coronary artery bypass grafts.
How does the procedure work?
While in the examination, x-rays pass through the body and they are picked up by special detectors in the scanner. The higher numbers (especially 64 or more) of these detectors can get the results in a clearer final images. CCTA often it is referred as multi-detector or multi-slice CT scanning. The information collected during the CCTA examination is used to identify the coronary artery anatomy, plaque, narrowing of the vessel, and in certain cases of heart function.
Radiologist uses the computer to create three-dimensional images and also in a various planes to evaluate it completely in the heart and in the coronary arteries.When a contrast material is introduced to the bloodstream during the procedure, it clearly defines the blood vessels being examined by making them appear bright white.