What is Cardiac CT Angiography
Computed tomography, more commonly known as a CT or CAT scan, is a diagnostic medical test that, unlike traditional x-rays, produces multiple images of the inside of the body. The “slices” generated during a CT scan are reviewed on a computer monitor.
Using cardiac CT, the heart and the coronary arteries which supply oxygen and blood to the heart muscles, can be accurately shown. This allows us to see atherosclerotic plaque and any blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels around the heart. In some cases, CT angiography may prevent the need for more invasive procedures.
- Common uses of Cardiac CT AngiographyWhile CT coronary angiography should not be used as a "screening" test in the general population, it is a major new tool in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. This test can be used to detect narrowing or blockage of these vessels that supply the heart in the following situations:
In these situations if the CT scan is normal or only mildly abnormal, it makes the likelihood of a severe blockage of the coronary arteries extraordinarily small. However, if the CT scan is significantly abnormal, other tests such as cardiac catheterisation and angiography may be necessary.Cardiac CT Angiography can also be used in people who have suspected abnormal anatomy of the coronary arteries or who have had bypass surgery. In this setting it can be very effective at evaluating the patency of the bypass grafts.
- Patients at high risk of developing coronary disease (cigarette smokers, those with genetic risk, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, or diabetes),
- Patients who have unclear results with treadmill or other testing.
- Patients who have symptoms suspicious of coronary disease.
- Remove metal objects such as jewellery, glasses, dentures, hairpins, underwire bras and piercings.
- Bring a list of any allergies and current medications and inform your doctor of them in advance of appointment.
- It is important that you do not drink alcohol or caffeine for 12 hours before the test.
- You may take all of your routine medications until the time of your test.
- On the day of the test, try to arrive 30 minutes before your exam time.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
- If you have a known allergy to contrast dye you will be given special medication guidelines. It is important that you follow these instructions carefully. For dialysis patients, the test may need to be scheduled on the same day as your dialysis treatment.