Our Services

64-Slice CT Coronary Angiography

Our 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 build up, whether it is minimal or substantial, in the heart arteries.

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

To help prevent CAD, we attempt 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 had 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.
  • Arterial 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. 

Before the procedure

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda on the day of your test.
  • Do not exercise on the day of the test.
  • 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.
  • A hospital gown will be provided.
  • 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.
  • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or may possibly be pregnant or if you are undergoing radiation therapy.
  • A nurse will take your medical history to identify possible allergies to the contrast dye used during the scan.
  • Preliminary lab work is done to make sure your kidneys are functioning normally.
  • You will be given a medication called metoprolol to assure that your heart rate is slow enough to allow high quality pictures. You will take it the night before and the morning of the procedure.
  • An IV will be inserted in your arm.

During the procedure

  • You will change into a hospital gown and lie on your back or side on a special scanning table.
  • Straps may be used 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 allow for a clearer image.
  • You may be given a nitroglycerin sublingual tablet right before the images are taken.
  • A contrast dye will be injected through the IV to help create more accurate pictures. You may feel warmth or flushing right after the contrast is injected.
  • 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 for 15 minutes to make sure you do not have a reaction to the contrast dye. 
  • Return to your regular activity and diet after the scan. Drink four to six glasses of water 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 doctor.

This test can be ordered by any physician at the New Mexico Heart Institute and will be interpreted by one of the specially trained physicians in this area listed below.



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