CT angiograms are performed in the radiology department of a hospital or an outpatient imaging facility.
It is important that the patient heart rate is around 60 bpm during the scan to produce a clear image so if required doctor may prescribe oral medicine called beta blocker to reduce heart rate to desired level. Patients should inform their healthcare provider if they have experienced any side effects from beta blockers in the past. Other than that, the patients might also be given nitro-glycerine to dilate their coronary arteries. If patients are allergic to the contrast material, they might be given medication to lower the risk of a reaction. It is important to inquire all about the CT angiogram cost before going ahead with the procedure.
A technician will give the patient a numbing medication before inserting an intravenous line in the hand or arm to inject the dye that will make the heart's arteries visible on the images. Even though the actual scanning portion of the test takes just five seconds, it may take up to an hour for the entire process.
The technician places electrodes on the chest to record the patient’s heart rate, who is required to lie on a long table that slides through a short, tunnel-like machine. During the coronary angiogram procedure,the patient is required to stay still and hold their breath to avoid blurred images. If the patient is uncomfortable in closed spaces, they can be given medication to help them relax.
After the completion of CT angiogram, the patient can return to their normal day-to-day activities. They should drink plenty of water to help flush the dye from their system. The patient should further discuss the results of the test with their doctor who advised the patient for a CT angiogram.
A major benefit of CT angiogram is that it can view bone, soft tissue and blood vessels simultaneously. It is therefore suited to identify other reasons for a patient’s discomfort such as a blood clot in the lungs or an injury to the aorta.
CT scanning delivers detailed images of tissues, unlike conventional X-rays.
No radiation remains in a patient's body after a CT examination.
CT examinations are simple and quick.
They are cost-effective and offer a diagnosis of multiple medical conditions.
CT is less sensitive to patient movement as compared to MRI.