Computed Tomography Angiogram (CT Angiogram)
computed tomography angiogram (CT angiogram) is a test
X-rays to provide detailed pictures of the heart and
the blood vessels that go to the heart, lung, brain, kidneys, head, neck, legs,
A CT angiogram can show whether a blood vessel is
blocked, where the blockage is, and how big the blockage is. The test can also
show whether there is a bulge (aneurysm) or a buildup of fatty
plaque in a blood vessel.
During a CT
angiogram, you lie on a table that passes through a doughnut-shaped opening in
the scanner. A special dye (contrast material) is put in a vein
(IV) in your arm or hand to make the blood vessels
easier to see on the scan. If you are having a CT angiogram to look at your
heart and the blood vessels that go to it (coronary arteries), you may be given a medicine called a
beta-blocker to slow your heart rate during the
Why It Is Done
A CT angiogram is done to look
- A narrowing (stenosis) or blockage in the coronary arteries. This
can occur when there is a buildup of fat (cholesterol)
and calcium in the arteries. This buildup is called plaque.
problems, such as
pericarditis (a buildup of fluid around the heart) and
damage or injury to the heart valves.
- A bulge (aneurysm) or tear
(dissection) in the
aorta , which is a large blood vessel that carries
blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
- A blood clot in the
lungs (pulmonary embolism).
- A narrowing of the
veins in the leg (peripheral arterial disease).
- An abnormal pattern
of blood vessels that may be a sign of a tumor.
How To Prepare
Before you have a CT angiogram, tell your
doctor if you:
- Are or might be pregnant.
breast-feeding. You will need to use formula (not your breast milk) for 1 to 2
days after the CT angiogram until the dye has passed from your body. Or you can
pump your breast milk and store it before the test and use that for a couple of
- Are allergic to any medicines, including iodine
- Have a heart condition, such as
diabetes or take metformin (such as Glucophage) to
control your diabetes.
- Have a history of kidney
- Have a history of
- Have had
- Have had an
X-ray test using barium contrast material (such as a
barium enema) in the past 4 days. Barium shows up
on X-ray films and makes it hard to see the picture clearly.
- Become very nervous in small spaces. You will
have to lie still inside the CT scanner, so you may need a medicine (sedative)
to help you relax. If you are given a sedative, you may need to have someone
take you home after the test.