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Computed Tomography Angiogram (CT Angiogram)

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.

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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
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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