What CT Coronary Angiography is
Computerised Tomography (CT) Coronary Angiography is an X-ray of the coronary arteries responsible for taking blood to the heart and heart chambers. The purpose here is to identify possible narrowing or blockages. The images taken can help support treatment for conditions such as angina or heart attacks.
For favourable results, since the heart rate needs to be between 50 to 60 beats per minute, we may need to administer beta blocker medication to assist in slowing down its rate.
Preparing for CT Coronary Angiography
An advance communication from IRC will inform the patient how he or she needs to prepare for the CT Coronary Angiography.
No food intake for several hours before the appointment is one requirement.
Just prior to the scan, patients are given a dye called a contrast which is injected through a thin tube – a catheter. While this is inserted most often in the wrist or in the groin, the contrast helps improve the detailing in the images. A local anesthetic or a sedative can be administered.
Some tests may be undertaken prior to the CT Coronary Angiography, including blood samples which check the functioning of certain organs such as the liver of kidneys.
Patients who have had adverse reactions to contrast in the past or who have allergies, problems with their kidneys, take medication for diabetes or blood thinners, will need to inform IRC staff in advance.
Moreover it is important for our female patients to inform us whether they are pregnant. This is because CT uses X-rays and unless it is a emergency, is not recommended.
Comfortable clothing with no metal is required. Jewellery, eyeglasses and metal objects that could interfere with the X-ray images need removing. As a rule we will ask patients to change into a gown.
What does the procedure involve?
Patients are positioned on a bed most often on lying on their backs. He or she then passes through the CT scanner - a ring that circles round part of the body. A sense of claustrophobia is not common as the ring does not cover the whole body.
A radiographer operates the scan from a separate room and communicates with the patient, who is visible, through an intercom.
It is important that the patient lies still while images are being taken.
How long will it take?
The CT angiography will take between 30 minutes and two hours and this depends on the complexity of the procedure. The patient may have to remain for up to two to three hours afterwards to ensure no adverse effects to the contrast occur.