Doctors use various diagnostic tests to assess cardiac health and diagnose conditions like coronary artery disease and heart failure. While a coronary angiogram is commonly used to identify these conditions, your doctor can prescribe other tests like CT coronary angiography.
In our previous blogs, you can read more about the use cases and risks of coronary angiography. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into CT coronary angiography and understand why it’s crucial for people with cardiac ailments.
What Is CT Coronary Angiography?
CT coronary angiography is a type of CT scan that uses special dyes to evaluate the heart’s blood vessels. It can detect blockages in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. It can identify blockages that are too small for other methods, such as a regular angiogram or an electrocardiogram (ECG), to pick up.
A CT coronary angiography scan aims to find any abnormal areas in your coronary arteries that could be causing stenosis (narrowing) or occlusion (blockage). It helps doctors identify underlying heart-related ailments and determine the right course of treatment.
How Does CT Coronary Angiography Work?
The test is usually done in a hospital or clinic. To begin with, the doctor or radiologist will start an intravenous (IV) line to administer the contrast dye. As the contrast flows through your veins, it will appear on the scan as bright white areas on a black background. It’ll help the doctor see your heart and coronary arteries.
The test usually lasts about 30 minutes to one hour. The CT coronary angiogram procedure involves two scans: one with diastolic blood flow and another with systolic blood flow.
When Is CT Coronary Angiography Used?
CT coronary angiography is used to diagnose a heart attack and evaluate blood flow in the heart. Also, doctors use it to detect blockages in arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.
What Are the Risks of CT Coronary Angiography?
While CT coronary angiography is a non-invasive and safe procedure, it can cause the following side effects:
You may have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye.
Your body will be exposed to high levels of radiation, which can increase your risk of developing cancer.
You might have to pay out of pocket because the test isn’t always covered by insurance.
You might experience more anxiety and stress if the scans indicate blockages in your arteries.
What Should I Expect When Having CT Coronary Angiography?
If you are planning to get a CT coronary angiography, you should be prepared for the following:
The radiologist will ask you to change into a hospital gown.
The radiologist will give you an injection of a contrast dye.
You will lie on a table, and the table will move into the CT scanner.
The scan is painless and takes about 20 minutes.
CT coronary angiography is a painless and safe test that can help determine if you have blocked arteries. If you have chest pain, you should consider getting the test done as soon as possible because it may save your life.
Dr. C Raghu is a renowned cardiologist with decades of experience. He specializes in interventional cardiology and has treated thousands of patients with cardiac ailments. If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms like chest pain, breathlessness, palpitations, etc., reach out to Dr. Raghu today.