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Computed Tomography Angiogram (CT Angiogram)

Results

Results of a CT angiogram are usually ready for your doctor in 1 to 2 days.

Computed tomography angiogram

Normal:

The blood vessels look normal, and blood flow is not reduced.

The heart and heart valves look normal.

No narrowing, blockage, bulging (aneurysm), or large buildup of plaque is seen.

Abnormal:

One or more blood vessels are partially or completely blocked.

The heart or the heart valves look abnormal.

An aneurysm or tear (dissection) in the aorta camera.gif is present.

A narrow spot in an artery may suggest that a blood clot or a deposit of fat and calcium is reducing blood flow through the blood vessel.

An abnormal pattern of blood vessels may be a sign that a tumor is present.

What Affects the Test

You may not be able to have a CT angiogram if:

  • You are pregnant. A CT angiogram isn't usually done when a woman is pregnant, because there is a chance that the baby might be harmed by the radiation.
  • You have had an X-ray test that used barium contrast material (such as a barium enema) or have taken a medicine that contains bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol) in the past 4 days. These substances show up on a CT angiogram and make it hard to see the picture clearly. A CT angiogram should be done before any tests that use these substances.
  • You are allergic to the dye (contrast material) that is used during the test.
  • You have kidney problems. The dye used during the test can cause kidney damage in people whose kidneys don't work well.
  • You take metformin (such as Glucophage) to control your diabetes. The dye used during the test may cause problems if you take this medicine.
  • You are obese. A person who is very overweight may not fit into a standard CT machine, or the X-ray table may not be able to support his or her weight.
  • You can't lie still during the test.
  • You have metal objects in your body, such as surgical clips or metal in joint replacements. These objects may prevent a clear view of the areas being examined.

What To Think About

Benefits and limitations

A CT angiogram is a less invasive test than a standard angiogram. A standard angiogram involves threading a thin tube called a catheter through an artery in your arm or leg up to the area being studied. But with a CT angiogram, no tubes are put in your body. To learn more, see the topic Angiogram.

If your doctor sees that one or more of your blood vessels are blocked, you may need a standard angiogram anyway to double-check the abnormal results from the CT angiogram. This is more likely to happen if your doctor is considering surgery to treat the blockage.

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.

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