CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA)
This is one of the more detailed types of scan available. X-ray dye is injected through a small tube in your arm vein, and the scan is timed to take pictures of the colouring travelling through your coronary arteries. The scans are reconstructed using software to create highly detailed 2D and 3D images of the vessel. These images can show narrowing due to soft plaque with a high degree of accuracy. Soft, mixed plaques are more likely to cause heart attacks. If no plaque is visible your risk of a cardiac event is extremely low.
How do I prepare for a CTCA? What should I expect on the day?
Patients are asked not to eat anything for four hours before the procedure. You will also be asked not to drink any caffeine for 12 hours before, as caffeine can lead to an increased heart rate. Caffeine includes tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and chocolate. However, it is essential to drink plenty of water right up to the procedure to be well hydrated.
During the CTCA Examination
During the procedure, your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored. You will be asked to lie down on a bed, and a plastic needle will be inserted into a vein near your elbow. Contrast dye will then be injected into the arteries around your heart. This will highlight areas where there are blockages or a build-up of plaque which can lead to blockages. It may be that you have a metallic taste in your mouth during the procedure. This is nothing to worry about and is completely harmless.
When you enter the scanner, you may see light lines projected onto your body. These ensure that you are positioned correctly. There may also be faint buzzing, clicking or whirring sounds.
You’ll be alone in the scan room during the scan, but our friendly experts will always be able to speak to you and hear you.
Once the examination is complete, we will remove the intravenous lines where the contrast material was injected and dress the small injection site.
After the CT Angiogram
Immediately following the test, your cardiologist will be able to read the digital report and give you your results there and then. Whilst the scan can be relatively quick – just 10-15 minutes in most cases, it is advisable to leave some time for post-procedure care and discussion with your cardiologist. Whatever the results, you will not be left unsupported; a bespoke treatment plan will be provided to you and copied to your GP or hospital. We understand that a procedure like this can cause some anxiety, and our team here at Venturi will be looking after you and your heart throughout.
You will be able to return to your daily activities after the test is completed and should be able to drive home yourself.
Our team will take care of you post-procedure to ensure you are prepared to continue with your day. We’ll also discuss your results during the post-procedure care and propose a tailored treatment plan for your future heart health.
Why should I take a CT Angiogram?
CT Angiograms are simple procedures that will provide you with ease of mind quickly. There are multiple benefits to undertaking this cardiology test in our clinic near you.
- An angiogram may be able to catch symptoms and concerns early, avoiding the need for surgery. If the test determines that surgery is required, it will inform the procedure more accurately.
- CT angiography is a fast and non-invasive process with very few complications.
- There is no need for sedation or general anesthesia. Whilst the whole process may take around an hour, you will be able to continue with your day as normal afterwards.
- CT angiograms are an effective way to detect blocked coronary arteries.
- The procedure is often much less costly than catheter angiography.
- CT angiograms may provide more accurate anatomical information than other angiography exams, including catheter angiography and MRIs.
- No radiation remains in your body after the examination.
Are there any risks involved in having a CT Angiogram?
There is a small risk involved with taking a CT angiogram due to the exposure to some radiation during the test. That’s why we may advise against this cardiology test if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. You should also discuss your medical history with your cardiologist, making mention of any recent illnesses or medications you might be taking.
There is also a small risk of suffering an allergic reaction to the dye used during the procedure. If you are aware of such an allergy, your cardiologist may prescribe medication in preparation for the CG Angiogram. Our team of cardiologists will consult you on the risk and talk through any concerns you have.