Coronary CT Angiography
What is Coronary CT Angiography?
A Coronary CTA is a heart-imaging test which non-invasively determines whether either fatty deposits or calcium deposits have built up in the coronary arteries.
According to the statistical data from the World Health Organization (WHO), coronary artery disease is one of the top causes of death. It mainly results from degenerative blood vessels or the formation of lipid-containing plaques which gradually block the bloodstream. Heart disease is often found in patients with diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, as well as those suffering from stress and heavy smokers.
- What is Coronary CT Angiography?
Also known as Coronary CTA, the Coronary CT Angiography is a non-invasive heart-imaging test that finds out if there are deposits of fats or calcium along the inner walls of coronary arteries. It is a computerized procedure utilizing a state-of-the-art x-ray machine to display images of the heart and its blood vessels. This device helps verify a possible heart disease and what type of disease it is.
- How to diagnose Coronary Artery Disease?
Aside from the routine information on medical history, physical exam, and blood tests, doctors will also require diagnostic tests such as the following:
- Coronary Angiography (CAG)
This procedure makes use of x-ray imaging and a special dye to find out if the blood that is flowing to the heart is being restricted.
- Coronary Computed Tomographic Angiography (Coronary CTA)
This procedure uses an intravenous iodine-rich material, along with CT scanning, to create 3D images of the heart, which displays possible plaque buildup.
- Coronary Angiography (CAG)
- Who should go through MDCT procedures?
The following patients are needed to undergo a multidetector computed tomography (MDCT):
- Patients who are at risk for coronary artery disease.
- Patients who show symptoms of having coronary heart disease.
- Patients who were previously treated with coronary heart ailments or who have family members diagnosed with the same condition.
- How do you prepare for MDCT?
To prepare for a multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) examination, the patient is required to fast from any food for at least four hours before the procedure is performed. The patient is however advised to drink water. Patients are also not allowed to take coffee, tea, medication, or any beverage that can potentially increase the heartbeat until after the exam is carried out.
- Who doesn’t need to undergo MDCT examination and intravenous contrast medium?
Women who are pregnant or are suspecting pregnancy are not supposed to undergo MDCT procedures as the x-rays are harmful to the unborn baby.
Furthermore, the contrast medium inserted into the veins can be allergic or harmful to the following:
- Patients with severe asthma.
- Patients with renal disease or chronic renal failure.
- Patients with high allergic reaction to seafood.
- Patients with history of allergic reaction from contrast medium of x-ray exams.
- What are the risks and complications of MDCT?
In a few cases, some patients do experience rashes, swelling, respiratory issues, or hives because of the contrast medium inserted in the veins. Moreover, the patient is also exposed to a safe amount of x-ray radiation in a range of 6-13 mSv. This amount is the same as the natural radiation a person is exposed to in the span of 2-3 years.
- What to do after the MDCT examination?
After the exam, do the following:
- Drink many glasses of water to expel the contrast medium through the urine.
- If allergic reactions, such as rashes, hives, or swelling, occur hours after injecting the contrast medium, report to your doctor immediately. While the chances of getting allergy are minimal, it’s still crucial to inform the doctor when they do appear.