Computed Tomography Angiogram (CT Angiogram)
What To Think About continued...
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
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
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.
Another test, called cardiac calcium
scoring, or coronary calcium scanning, 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. For more information, see the medical test
Cardiac Calcium Scoring.
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.
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
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 the Young. Circulation, 118: 586-606.
Taylor AJ, et al. (2010). ACCF/SCCT/ACR/AHA/ASE/ASNC/NASCI/SCAI/SCMR 2010 - Appropriate use criteria for cardiac computed tomography: A Report of the American
College of Cardiology Foundation Appropriate Use Criteria Task Force, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, the American College of Radiology, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Echocardiography, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the North American Society for Cardiovascular Imaging, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 56(22): 1864-1894.