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64-Slice CT Coronary Angiography

64-Slice CT Coronary Angiography

The 64 slice CT Angiography (CTA) is a revolutionary non-invasive procedure that captures 3-D images of your heart and coronary arteries using high speed computed tomography or CT technology to detect plaque buildup, whether it is minimal or substantial, in the heart arteries.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in American men and women.  CAD is caused by blockages in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.

To help identify coronary artery plaque and prevent heart attacks, we want to identify individuals at risk for the disease:

  • Family or personal history of coronary artery disease
  • Male over 45 years of age; female over 55 years of age
  • Past or present smoker
  • History of high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure
  • Overweight
  • Inactive lifestyle

CTA can be useful in patients who:

  • Have not been diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD), but whose symptoms suggest the condition could be present.
  • Have unusual symptoms and have risk factors for developing CAD.
  • Have an inconclusive stress test.
  • Are having chest pain and have risk factors for developing CAD

Today, many patients can undergo a CTA scan in place of a conventional invasive angiogram for additional reasons:

  • Pulmonary artery examination to determine the presence of blood clots.
  • Examination of arteries to the kidneys, brain, and lower extremities.
  • To identify aneurysms in the aorta or in other major blood vessels.
  • To detect clots (thrombosis) in veins such as those supplying the pelvis and legs. 

 To get the best CT scan

Your heart rate needs to be 60 beats a minute and regular; you will be given medicine to slow your heart rate. You need to be able to take a medicine called metoprolol. You need to be able to have iodine based IV contrast. You need to be able to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds.

Before the procedure

  • Inform your provider and radiology technician if you are pregnant or may possibly be pregnant or if you are undergoing radiation therapy.
  • Preliminary lab work is done to make sure your kidneys are functioning normally. Please have this done 4-7 days before the test.
  • To help in slowing your heart rate, avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda on the day of your test, do not exercise on the day of the test and take metoprolol the night before and morning of the test as ordered. These steps will help improve the quality of the artery pictures.
  • Do not eat or drink anything four hours before the exam.
  • Take any medications with small sips of water; if you have diabetes, do not take your insulin or pills on the day of the exam.
  • Metal objects such as keys, jewelry, eyeglasses, hairpins and watches may affect the scan and should be left at home or removed prior to the exam.
  • CT staff will take your medical history to identify possible allergies to the contrast dye used during the scan.
  • A hospital gown will be provided.
  • An IV will be inserted in your arm.

During the procedure

  • You will change into a hospital gown. Then you will be taken into the CT Scan room. You will lie on your back or side on the special scanning table.
  • It is important you do not move during the test.  Your arms may be secured during the test to help you stay still during the exam.
  • If your heart rate is more than 70 beats a minute, a beta-blocker medication may be administered through your IV to slow your heart rate and allow for a clearer image.
  • You may be given a nitroglycerin sublingual tablet right before the images are taken. Nitroglycerin can cause a headache for several minutes.
  • A contrast dye will be injected through the IV to show the blood flow through the arteries. You may feel warmth or flushing right after the contrast is injected. Some people feel warmth in the groin area.
  • The table will move into a donut-shaped tube while a special computer program records images of your heart.
  • Patients are asked to hold their breath for short periods of up to 30 seconds while the images are recorded.

After the procedure

  • You will be required to rest in the CT scan area for 15 minutes to make sure you do not have a reaction to the contrast dye. 
  • You may return to your regular activity and diet after the scan. Drink four to six glasses of water in the next few hours to help flush the contrast dye from your system.
  • You may drive home.
  • If you take metformin or any medicine that contains metformin (Glucophage®, Glucovance®, Metaglip™ or Avandamet®) to treat diabetes, do not take it for 48 hours after the scan is complete.

A NMHI Cardiologist analyzes your scan’s images and sends the report to your health care provider.




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