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Computed Tomography Angiogram (CT Angiogram)

What To Think About continued...

If your doctor finds a major blockage in one of your blood vessels during a CT angiogram, you won't be able to get an immediate angioplasty to clear the blockage. You will need a separate procedure. But if you have a standard angiogram and the doctor finds a major blockage, he or she can perform an angioplasty during the angiogram.

Certain things can make CT angiograms hard to read. For example, a fast heart rate may make it hard to get a clear picture of the coronary arteries. Or a large buildup of calcium may show a narrowing of the arteries when there isn't one (false-positive) or show that the arteries are fine when they are not (false-negative). But with a standard angiogram, these things don't interfere with the test.

Other tests

Another test, called a coronary calcium scan, also uses a CT scan to show how much calcium is in your coronary arteries. This test is for people who have no symptoms of heart disease but may be at risk for getting it. To learn more, see the topic Coronary Calcium Scan.

CT technology

If your doctor suggests a CT angiogram, you may want to ask what kind of scanner will be used. In most cases, a 16– or 64–multi-slice (or multi-detector) CT scanner is used for the CT angiogram. These scanners provide more detailed images of the blood vessels and organs in less time than other imaging tests. But they may not be available in all medical centers.

Related Information

Citations

  1. Einstein AJ, et al. (2007). Estimating risk of cancer associated with radiation exposure from 64-slice computed tomography coronary angiography. JAMA, 298(3): 317–323.

Other Works Consulted

  • Blankenstein R (2012). Introduction to noninvasive cardiac imaging. Circulation, 125(3): e267–e271.

  • Bluemke, D, et al. (2008). Noninvasive coronary artery imaging: Magnetic resonance angiography and multidetector computed tomography angiography. A scientific statement From the American Heart Association Committee on Cardiovascular Imaging and Intervention of the Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention, and the Councils on Clinical Cardiology and Cardiovascular Disease in t

  • Budoff M, et al. (2006). Assessment of coronary artery disease by cardiac computed tomography: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association Committee on Cardiovascular Imaging and Intervention, Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention, and Committee on Cardiac Imaging, Council on Clinical Cardiology. Circulation, 114(16): 1761–1791.

  • Einstein A. (2009). Radiation Protection of Patients Undergoing Cardiac Computed Tomographic Angiography. JAMA, 301(5): 545-547.

  • Mark DB, et al. (2010). ACCF/ACR/AHA/NASCI/SAIP/SCAI/SCCT 2010 expert consensus document on coronary computed tomographic angiography. Circulation, 121(22): 2509–2543.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

  • Taylor AJ, et al. (2010). ACCF/SCCT/ACR/AHA/ASE/ASNC/NASCI/SCAI/SCMR 2010 – Appropriate use criteria for cardiac computed tomography. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 56(22): 1864–1894.

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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