is CTA?A Coronary CTA is a heart-imaging test that determines if either
fatty deposits or calcium deposits have built up in the coronary arteries.
The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. When either the
fatty deposits or calcium deposits build up they become plaques. These
plaques cause heart disease. Heart muscle disease from plaque build-up can
lead to multiple problems including shortness of breath, chest pain, and
even heart attack. CTA helps to detect heart disease in asymptomatic
patients with high coronary disease risk, in patients with atypical symptoms
with lower heart disease risk, and in patients who have abnormal or unclear
stress test results.
How does CTA work?A Coronary CTA is a special type of x-ray
examination. The patient lays down on the exam table which will move
through the scanner. Before the test begins, an IV (intravenous line)
is inserted. Through this IV, the patient is given iodine-containing
Sometimes, medication may be given through the IV to slow the heart rate so
that better images can be obtained. After the dye is given and the heart is
at the appropriate rate, the test will begin. The table moves through
the scanner and images of the heart, blood vessels, and chest are obtained.
The entire scan takes less than 10 minutes to perform.
should have a CTA?
You should consult with your doctor about whether or not CTA is appropriate
for you. CTA is used for patients who have:
- Intermediate to high risk factors for heart disease but who are
asymptomatic or have atypical symptoms like fatigue with physical
- Patients who have low to intermediate risk profiles for heart
disease and have symptoms like chest pain without physical exertion.
- Patients with abnormal or inconclusive stress tests.
There are very few contraindications for this test, however, a person is
not a candidate for CTA if they have:
- Decreased kidney functioning
- Allergies to contrast dye.
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