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CT Angiogram (CTA)

CT angiography (CTA) is a type of medical imaging scan used to diagnose conditions or check treatment progress. It combines a CT scan with an injection of a special dye that produces pictures of blood vessels and soft tissue.

Who is eligible for a CT Angiogram (CTA)?

CTAs are used to diagnose a variety of heart conditions. It might be done to diagnose the cause of chest pain or other symptoms. It may also be done to check the progress of your condition.

What conditions can be diagnosed by a CT Angiogram (CTA)?

A CTA is mainly used to check for narrowed or blocked arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease). However, your doctor can use it to check your heart for various conditions.

How do I prepare for a CT Angiogram (CTA)?

You'll be asked not to eat anything for about four hours before your test. You can drink water. You may have to avoid caffeinated drinks twelve hours before your test because that can increase your heart rate.

Tell your doctor about the medications that you take. It may be necessary to stop using a medication for a period of time before the test.

If you have an allergy to contrast dye, tell your doctor. Contrast dye is used to better visualize your arteries. If you are allergic, your doctor might ask you to take steroid medication twelve hours before the procedure to reduce your risk of a reaction.

What should I expect during my CT Angiogram (CTA)?

You may receive a medication called a beta-blocker to slow your heart rate. This provides clearer images of your heart and vessels on the CT scan. You might also be given nitroglycerin to widen (dilate) your coronary arteries. Let your doctor know if you've had side effects from these drugs in the past.

You'll need to remove clothing above your waist, as well as jewelry and glasses, and change into a hospital gown.

You'll receive numbing medication. Once numb, the technician will insert an IV into your hand or arm. Contrast dye is injected through an intravenous (IV) line started in your arm or hand. You'll also have sticky patches called electrodes placed on your chest to record your heart rate.

You'll lie on a long table that slides through a short, tunnel-like machine (CT scanner). If you're uncomfortable in closed spaces, your doctor may give you medication to relax.

During the scan, you need to stay still, so the images are clear. A technician operates the CT machine from a room separated from your exam room by a glass window. An intercom system lets you talk to each other.

The scanning process may take up to an hour. After your CTA is completed, you can return to your normal activities. You should be able to drive yourself home or to work. Drink plenty of water to help flush the dye out of your system.

Why choose Presbyterian for a CT Angiogram (CTA)?

Presbyterian’s Heart and Vascular team has many different options to help you manage your heart condition. The team performs various diagnostic tests and procedures to help form an accurate diagnosis and create individualized treatment plans for your heart health needs. Depending on the type of heart condition you have and its underlying cause, the team can recommend a wide variety of treatment options, including lifestyle modifications, medications, and procedures. Our cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons work closely together for cases in which surgery is the best treatment option. We also offer a customized cardiac rehabilitation program at our Healthplex, where clinically appropriate, which can improve your endurance and exercise tolerance, as well as improve heart-related symptoms. Your cardiologist will work with the rehabilitation team to create a plan that will be tailored to your individual health needs.