A computerized tomography (CT) coronary angiogram is an imaging test to look at the arteries that supply your heart muscle with blood.
What is a CT Coronary Angiogram
A coronary CT angiogram is a test that is primarily used to check for narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) that could explain chest pain or could put you at risk of a heart attack.
Unlike a traditional coronary angiogram, CT angiograms are non-invasive and do not use a catheter threaded through your blood vessels to your heart. Instead, a coronary CT angiogram relies on a X-ray machine to produce images of your heart and heart vessels. Intravenous dye is injected through an intravenous (IV) line that’s placed in your hand or arm. X-ray images are still taken of your heart.
Coronary CT angiograms may be used in place of traditional coronary angiograms to check for coronary artery disease. A CT angiogram may be better than a traditional angiogram for people who have only a low to moderate risk of coronary artery disease. If a blockage in your heart’s arteries is identified on the scan this will often need to be confirmed with a traditional coroanry angiogram. if you have known or suspected coronary artery disease, a traditional coronary angiogram may also be a better option, because treatment for your artery blockages can be performed at the same procedure
CT angiograms use an X-ray machine to take pictures of your heart, and therefore you will be exposed to some radiation during the test. The amount of radiation varies depending on the type of machine used. The risk that you could develop cancer from the radiation you receive during a CT angiogram is not exactly known, but it is very small. Because radiation can harm an unborn child, you shouldn’t have a CT angiogram if you’re pregnant.
It’s also possible that you could have an allergic reaction to the dye used in the procedure. Therefore this test is not recommended for patients with a known contrast allergy.