CT Angiography

A CT cross-section of the heart

Coronary artery CT Angiography (CTA) is a special type of x-ray examination used to visualize blood flow in the vessels of the heart.

Patients who have this test will have a small intravenous catheter placed in their arm and will receive an iodine-containing contrast dye to help ensure the best images possible of the coronary arteries. The same I.V. may be used to give a safe medication (commonly used by patients with high blood pressure and heart disease) to slow or stabilize the heart rate for better imaging results.

During the examination, which takes about 10 minutes, X-rays pass through the body and are picked up by special detectors which give the final images. Typically, the higher the number of detectors, the better the image. For this reason, this technique is often called “multi-detector” or “multi-slice” CT scanning.

Sand Lake Imaging has a 64-slice multidetector CT, the highest number of detectors available for clinical imaging.

CT Angiography Procedures Performed at Our Facilities:

  • Pulmonary Arteries
  • Aorta, Thoracic
  • Coronary Arteries
  • Brain
  • Neck (Carotid)
  • Abdomen
  • Upper Extremity (Arm)
  • Lower Extremity (Leg)
  • Chest Pulmonary Veins Left Atrium and Esophagus
  • Aorta with Run-Off

What to Expect

Why is this test done?

This test is done to look for narrowing of coronary arteries, pericarditis, an aortic aneurysm or dissection, or other venous abnormalities.

How is this test done?

  • You will lie on a table attached to the CT scanner, and will have contrast dye injected into either your arm or your hand. Then, the table will slide into the machine.
  • The table and scanner will move around, taking different images as it does. You may be asked to hold your breath for a short period of time.

How long does this test take?

Usually 30-60 minutes.


How to Prepare

Drink plenty of fluids in the 24 hours before your exam. If your exam includes contrast, do not eat anything for four hours before your exam. Avoid strenuous activity 24 hours in advance of your study. Medications may be taken with a small amount of water. If your exam includes oral contrast, you must drink it 2 hours before your exam. When you arrive for the exam you will be given another cup to drink. Please call our offices if you have a history of contrast reactions/allergies.

Equipment Used for This Procedure

Siemens Biograph TruePoint PET/64 CT

PET scans measure metabolic processes by sending gamma rays into the body that detect a radiopharmaceutical (or tracer) that was introduced into the body. With the aid of a CT x-ray scan, this provides a 3D image. The High Definition of the Siemens Biograph TruePoint PET/64 CT requires a lower dose than a typical scan, as well as decreased scan time.  This machine has 64 slice technology, whereas most facilities only have 16-slice technology. This means the slices of the image are thinner and therefore more precise than a typical scan because the area of concern is better localized. This helps your doctor make more a more accurate diagnosis.