CT Angiography

Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) uses an injection of iodine-rich contrast material and CT scanning to help diagnose and evaluate blood vessel or related conditions, such as aneurysms or blockages.

What is CT Angiography?

CT angiography uses a CT scanner to produce detailed images of both blood vessels and tissues in various parts of the body. An iodine-rich contrast material (dye) is usually injected through a small catheter placed in a vein of the arm. A CT scan is then performed while the contrast flows through the blood vessels to the various organs of the body. After scanning, the images will be processed using a special computer and software and reviewed in different planes and projections.

  • The examination is used to examine blood vessels providing the blood supply to organs in various body parts including:

    • Brain and Neck
    • Heart and Chest
    • Abdomen (including kidneys and liver)
    • Pelvis, Legs and Feet
    • Arms and Hands

     

    Physicians use CT angiography to diagnose and evaulate many diseases of the blood vessels and other related conditions including:

    • abnormalities, such as aneurysms in the aorta,chest and abdomen, or in other arteries.
    • atherosclerotic (plaque) disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.
    • small aneurysms or arteriovenous malformation (abnormal communications between blood vessels) inside the brain or other parts of the body.
    • atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs.
    • help prepare for endovascular intervention or surgery.
    • detect disease in the arteries to the kidneys or visualize blood flow to help prepare for a kidney transplant.
    • guide interventional radiologists and surgeons making repairs to diseased blood vessels, such as implanting stents or evaluating a stent after implantation.
    • examine pulmonary arteries in the lungs to detect pulmonary embolism (blood clots, such as those traveling from leg veins) or pulmonary arteriovenous malformations.

What will I experience during my scan?

CT examinations are generally painless, fast and easy. With multi-detector CT, the amount of time that the patient needs to lie still for is reduced.
 
When you enter the CT scanner room, special light lines may be seen projected onto your body, and are used to ensure that you are properly positioned. With modern CT scanners, you will hear only slight buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds as the CT scanner's internal parts, not usually visible to you, revolve around you during the imaging process.
 
Occasionally a contrast material is used via an intravenous line through your arm. You will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein. You will likely have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast material and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for at most a minute or two. You may experience a sensation like you have to urinate; however, this is actually a contrast effect and subsides quickly. In the majority of cases contrast is not required in this type of examination.
 
After a CT exam, if an intravenous line was used to inject contrast material through your vein, it will be removed and you can return to your normal activities.