CT, sometimes called CAT scanning, uses special x-ray equipment to obtain images from different angles, which are then processed by computer to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs.
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Metal objects can affect the image, so avoid clothing with zippers and snaps. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for one or more hours before the exam. You may be asked to swallow a liquid contrast material that allows the radiologist to better see the stomach, small bowel and colon. Women should inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
You will be comfortably positioned on a CT table, and you may be supported by pillows to help you stay in the proper position during the procedure. The table will move slowly into the opening in the center of the CT scanner. Very small, controlled amounts of x-ray radiation are passed through the body. A contrast material may be injected into a vein to enhance the visibility of blood vessels and kidneys.
An Alternative to Conventional Catheter Angiography. Coronary CTA is a powerful and useful tool to evaluate patients suspected of coronary artery disease. With a quick and safe CT scan in a convenient outpatient setting, we are able to visualize hard and soft plaque in the main arteries of the heart.
Cardiovascular disease is most commonly produced by plaque deposits in the wall of the coronary arteries, causing a narrowing of the arteries. More Americans die of heart disease than all types of cancer combined. CCTA enables patients to know if they have coronary artery disease before it's too late.
The actual scan time is very fast, but many factors determine the total amount of time for the procedure (usually no more than 1 hour).
Before the scan, a nurse will check your blood pressure/heart rate, and do an EKG. An IV will be placed in your right arm. You will be coached in breathing techniques that will help optimize the scan images. First, a non-contrast CT Calcium Scoring study will be done to determine the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary blood vessels. Once the calcium score is obtained, IV contrast will be injected for the CCTA to visualize the coronary arteries.
After the scan, you should expect to stay at Premier for 15 minutes for observation. You may resume normal activity after leaving Premier.
A specially trained radiologist at Premier will review your study and send a report to your physician. With this information, your doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment. This may include diet and lifestyle changes, medication, and/or further testing.
Medicare will cover Coronary CTA for certain situations.