Coronary CT Angiography
Coronary CT Angiography (CCTA) is a way of examining the small arteries that feed the heart muscle. It uses a CT scanner to visualize blood flow in the coronary arteries and computer software to manipulate the data into 3D images. CCTA is a noninvasive way to examine the walls of the coronary arteries — looking for hard and soft plaque. This information can help your doctor determine your risk of a heart attack.
Who Needs a CCTA Exam?
For patients with suspected coronary artery disease, a CCTA can help with the management of the disease. Patients who would benefit from this procedure include:
- those with an intermediate to high-risk profile with no typical coronary symptoms
- patients who have had inconclusive results from a stress test
- patients with unusual symptoms for coronary artery disease (CAD), but low to intermediate risk profiles
Please talk with your doctor to assess your risks.
How Do I Prepare?
- Do not drink or eat anything during the four hours preceding your appointment.
- Do not consume anything containing caffeine or nicotine starting at midnight on the day of exam.
What Should I Expect?
You will be given or prescribed 100 mg of a medication to lower your heart rate, which you will take orally 3 hours prior to your procedure. You will also take one 0.4 mg tablet of sublingual nitroglycerin just prior to the exam.
What Do The Results Mean?
Once your scan is completed, your images will be sent to the radiologist for review. Your physician will receive a report discussing the radiologist's findings, including your cardiac score. Your doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment, including:
- diet and lifestyle changes
- further testing