Coronary / Cardiac CT Angiography
Coronary CT angiography (CTA) is a non-invasive examination used to visualize
the coronary arteries in order to assess whether there are blockages or
restrictions to the flow of blood (and oxygen) to the heart. Coronary
CTA is a form of CT (computed tomography), which uses the latest state
of the art CT scanners in order to freeze cardiac motion while contrast
is administered through an IV in the arm, and allow for both 2D, 3D and
4D visualization of cardiac structures such as the coronary arteries.
This type of technology is revolutionizing the way patients with chest
pain are treated and over the past few years has grown into a more established
technology that can provide accurate assessment of coronary artery disease
without some of the risks associated with the more invasive alternatives
(such as diagnostic conventional coronary angiography also known as cardiac
Our state of the art CT scanners are capable of providing all of this
relevant information regarding the coronary arteries while administering
the least amount of radiation, when compared to many of the cardiac centers
in the region.
What to Expect
You will be instructed to arrive one hour before your exam, in order to
be given some medication that will significantly slow your heartbeat.
When you are brought into the CT room you will lie comfortably on your
back on a padded table that moves through the scanner, which looks like
a large square with an opening in the middle. Both ends of the scanner
are open; you are not enclosed. You will be able to communicate with the
technologist at any time through a two-way intercom.
The technologist or nurse will start an IV in your arm so that intravenous
contrast material can be injected during the scan. You will also be connected
to equipment that will monitor your pulse. This allows the equipment to
scan when the contrast reaches your heart and to eliminate the heart motion
from the images.
As the procedure begins, you will hear humming, buzzing or clicking sounds
from the CT machine. The table will move in short steps through the scanner
as the CT tube rotates around you. At each step, the scanner completes
a separate view. The information is processed by the computer and displayed
as images on a video screen for the technologist. You will be asked to
hold your breath for several seconds during the procedure. You should
remain as still as possible to produce the clearest images. When the contrast
material is injected, you may notice a warm, flushed sensation and a metallic
taste in your mouth for a short time.
The CT scan itself causes no pain. Usually the scanning takes several
seconds or just a few minutes to perform. Your scan procedure will take
about 30 minutes, and we will ask you to stay about 30 minutes afterwards
for observation. When we schedule your appointment, we can give you an
estimate of how long your procedure will take.