How is Coronary CTA different from other heart tests?
One of the common heart tests is the coronary angiogram. This test is invasive. In an invasive coronary angigram, a catheter is usually inserted into a blood vessel in the upper thigh, then maneuvered up to the coronary arteries. Contrast medium is then injected via the catheter and images an captured using X-rays. Coronary CTA is a new technology that consistently demonstrate the ability to rule out significant narrowing of the coronary arteries and can non-invasively detect "plaque", or coronary stenosis.
Advantages of 64-slice CT angiography as compared to invasive angiography
Better depiction of coronary anomalies
Non-invasive-no complications, CT scan of the entire heart is performed in 10 to 12 seconds.
examination room time is lessthan15 minutes and there's no need for a hospital stay
Clear visualization of calcium deposits and plaque morphology, though CT is still inferior to
Better delineation of stenoses at the origin of the right and left coronary artery
True 30 imaging
"One-stop shop" analysis-coronary arteries, valves, ventricular analysis. myocardial mass,
plaque morphology, lung parenchyma
Source: Sebastian Leschka, M.D.
Who should consider Coronary CTA?
The single most important step is to consult your primary physician as to whether you should consider a Coronary CTA.
Some of the indications for CTA are:
High-risk profiles for coronary artery disease.
Atypical chest pain
Unclear or inconclusive stress-lest (treadmill test) results.
Assessment of grafts or stents in coronary artery for patency.
To evaluate for coronary anomaly.
Are there any risks involved?
Coronary CTA scan is a safe procedure. It is painless and non-invasive.
Risks are often associated to exposure to X-rays and to the contrast medium that is injected
intravenously during the study. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis often outweighs
these low risks.
For female patients, please inform the radiographer if you are pregnant or suspect that you
might be pregnant before the start of the examination.
Some patients may experience slight pain and mild allergy, in the form of rashes and/or
nausea, when the intravenous contrast medium is injected These symptoms usually
The contrast medium will be excreted in your urine.
The radiologist and radiographer will be constantly present to ensure your safety.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
You should refrain from food and drinks for at least 4 hours before the examination
Inform the radiographer if you suffer from diabetes mellitus, asthma, heart condition, kidney
problems and any drug allergies.
You are required to give a written consent for the examination.
How is the procedure performed?
You will be asked to change into an examination gown and remove any metallic object around
In the examination room, you will be positioned on the CT table and a small needle will be
placed in your arm.
The same needle in the arm may be used to give a medication to slow or stabilize your heart
rate for better imaging results before the injection of contrast medium through it.
Once the scanning has started, the table will move very slowly Into the gantry You may hear
mechanical noises from the scanner as it acquires images.
You are required to keep still and hold your breath when instructed to do so.
Depending on the type of CT examination you undergo, the whole examination may take 30
minutes to complete.
You can resume your normal daily activities after the scan.
When can I expect the results?
A radiologist, who is a physician experienced rn Coronary CTA and other diagnostic imaging
studies, will analyze the images and write a report.
The signed report will be sent to your primary care physician before your next appointment.