Computed Tomography Angiogram (CT Angiogram)
How It Is Done
A CT angiogram is usually done by a
radiology technologist. The pictures are usually read
radiologist. But some other types of doctors may also
review the test results.
Before the test
- Take off any jewelry and any other metal
- Take off all or most of your clothes. You will be given a
gown to wear during the test.
During the test
- You will lie very still on a table that is
attached to the CT scanner.
- A dye (contrast material) will be put
in a vein in your arm or hand. 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
- The table will slide into the round opening of the scanner
and move slightly while the scanner takes pictures. You may hear a click or
buzz as the table and scanner move.
- The technologist may ask you to
hold your breath for a few seconds at a time.
- You may be alone in
the scanning room. But the technologist will watch you through a window. You
will be able to talk to him or her through an intercom.
A CT angiogram usually takes 30 to 60 minutes but could
take up to 2 hours.
After the test
Drink plenty of fluids for 24 hours after the test to help flush the dye
out of your body.
How It Feels
A CT angiogram is not painful. The table
you lie on may feel hard, and the room may be cool. It may be hard to lie still
during the test.
When the dye is given, you may:
- Feel a brief sting or pinch from the needle
going into your vein.
- Feel warm and flushed.
- Feel sick
to your stomach or get a headache.
- Have a metallic taste in your
Tell the technologist or your doctor how you are
The risk from having a CT angiogram is small. But
some risks include:
- Exposure to radiation. There is a slight chance
of developing cancer from some types of CT scans.1 The
chance is higher in children, young women, and people who have many radiation
tests. If you are concerned about this risk, talk to your doctor about the
amount of radiation this test may give you or your child. Make sure that the
test is needed.
allergic reaction to the dye (contrast material). But
this is rare, and most reactions are mild and can be treated with medicine.
- Kidney problems. The dye used during the test can cause kidney
damage in people whose kidneys don't work well.
The dye may also cause problems for people who take
metformin (such as Glucophage) to control their diabetes. Your doctor will tell
you when to stop taking metformin and when to start taking it again after the
test so you won't have a problem.