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.
- Common Uses of CT Angiography
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.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
- 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.
- Inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or medical conditions and whether you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems.
- Inform the Radiologist if you have asthma, multiple myeloma or any disorder of the heart, kidneys or thyroid gland, or if you have diabetes—particularly if you are taking a medication called Glucophage.
- Women should inform their Doctor and the Radiologist if there is a posibility that they are pregnant.
Image courtesy of Siemens Healthcare
What will I experience during my scan?
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.