Computed Tomography (CT) Coronary Angiography, or Coronary Artery is a CT scan performed on the coronary arteries and heart chambers. This procedure can provide very detailed images of your heart for the radiologist, and is a very useful diagnostic tool.
How Does the Coronary CT Work?
During your CT scan, you will lie down on a bed which slides into the scanner through an opening. The scanner rotates around your body to produce images, and you may hear some quiet whirring sounds. The scan is painless and non-invasive, and should only take about 20 minutes to complete. We use low-dose technology to limit your exposure to radiation. A coronary CT will be focussing on your heart region for the scan.
What Can I Expect?
You should plan to arrive approximately an hour prior to your appointment to get situated. For a coronary CT, it’s important not to ingest any caffeine or stimulating substances prior to your scan, as we’ll need your heart rate to be as slow as possible. Occasionally, we may use medication to help relax and steady your heart. A slower heartbeat allows us to get the best possible view and images with our scan.
You’ll wear a hospital gown for the procedure, and will be given a contrast dye intravenously, which provides the necessary contrast for images. This dye may cause a slight metallic taste or a warm sensation, and will exit your system with no problem. ECG leads will be affixed to your chest also, to monitor your heart rate throughout the CT. During the scan, you’ll lie on the scanning table within the machine. You’ll be asked to hold your breath for a short period. The scan itself should take roughly 20 seconds to complete.
After the Scan
After the scan, the IV will be removed from your arm, and you will be able to change back into your normal clothing. It is possible you may feel lightheaded or dizzy, particularly if you’ve been given any medication to help slow the heart rate. You can rest and recover in the office if necessary. You should drink lots of fluids to help flush the contrast dye through your system. Very rarely, some bruising can occur at the site of the dye injection, in which case ice should be applied. In the vast majority of cases, you can head home shortly following the CT scan procedure. Results from your coronary CT can take several days after analysis of your coronary arteries and heart by your Radiologist.
If you have further concerns or questions not addressed in this article, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our highly qualified radiologists. At Vision XRAY, patient care and comfort is our top priority, and we are delighted to help answer any questions you may have or provide more information about any of our procedures.