Angioplasty & Coronary CT Angiography (CTA)
Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA), sometimes referred to as coronary CT angioplasty, is a new procedure used to diagnose coronary artery disease. Studies are performed on a state-of-the-art 64-channel GE VCT-XT scanner (which takes 64 pictures a minute of the coronary arteries) along with contrast material given through an IV to produce high-resolution, 3D images of the moving heart and vessels. Coronary angiography is a noninvasive method for detecting blockages in the coronary arteries and can be performed much faster than a cardiac catheterization with less risk, discomfort and decreased recovery time.
Who Should Have a Coronary CT Angiography
Not all patients are candidates for a coronary angiography. You should meet the usual requirements for contrast-enhanced CT. If you have an allergy or have had a reaction to contrast material, you may not be a candidate for coronary CT angiography. Additionally, a regular heart rhythm and rate (below 70 bpm) are generally required. Your primary care physician will help determine whether coronary CT angiography is right for you.
Preparing For a Coronary CT Angiography
- Stop eating or drinking about four hours before the procedure. You may take your medications with a small amount of water
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes the day of your procedure
What to Expect During the Procedure
- You will be given a contrast material through an IV in your arm vein so that the cardiac radiologist can clearly view your heart and blood vessels on the CT image. After the contrast material is injected, it is common to feel flushed or have a metallic taste in your mouth. If you experience shortness of breath or any unusual symptoms, please tell the doctor or technologist.
- You will be asked to lie on your back on the exam table with your arms raised over your head
- You must lie as still as possible during the exam and may be asked to briefly hold your breath while the machine is scanning. Any movement may blur the images.
- The table will move in and out of the scanner as the X-ray tube circles your body for 5-8 seconds. Each loop of the scanner creates a series of images of your heart and vessels. The scanner processes these images and creates a high-resolution, 3D image when the exam is complete.
After the Procedure
As soon as the procedure is complete, you can resume your regular activities. Our radiologists will review your test results and will send them to your doctor to discuss the results and any next steps with you.