Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Computed Tomography Angiogram (CT Angiogram)

How It Is Done

A CT angiogram is usually done by a radiology technologist. The pictures are usually read by a radiologist. But some other types of doctors may also review the test results.

Before the test

  • Take off any jewelry and any other metal objects.
  • 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 test.
  • 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 mouth.

Tell the technologist or your doctor how you are feeling.

Risks

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.
  • An 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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 13, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Hot Topics

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

tea
What you should eat.
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
colon xray
Get the facts.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
fruit drinks
Foods that can help you focus.
Sad dog and guacamole
Don't feed this to your dog.
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.