CTA (CT Angiography)
A computed tomography angiography or CT angiography is a medical test in which a patient will receive an injection of a special dye through an IV in their arm or hand before undergoing a CT scan to produce detailed pictures of blood vessels and tissues.
Computerized tomography scans or CT scans are X-rays that create cross-sectional images of your body with a computer. The CT scanner consists of a machine with a tunnel. During a CT angiogram, a patient will lie on an examining table and pass in and out of the tunnel while the machine scans a specific part of their body. Combining a CT scan with the contrast material dye causes blood vessels and tissues a clinician wishes to study further to ‘light up’ for further examination.
When Would You Need a CT Angiography?
You may need a CT angiogram if your clinician detects an abnormality in your blood vessels, brain or other parts of your body. Your clinician may also use the information they receive from this test to create an accurate diagnosis or treatment plan.
Some additional reasons you may need a CT angiogram include:
- Finding an aneurysm, which is an enlarged blood vessel that may rupture soon.
- Locating blood vessels narrowed by atherosclerosis, which is a fatty material that can create plaque in the wall of an artery.
- Identifying any formations of abnormal blood vessels in your brain.
- Discovering blood clots that traveled to your lungs after forming in your leg veins.
- Evaluating tumors fed by blood vessels.
The information from a CT angiography can also help you prevent a heart attack or stroke. Your health care provider may also order a test to assist in planning cancer treatment or to prepare you for procedures such as a kidney transplant.
Benefits of a CT Angiogram
CT angiography tests are beneficial for producing detailed images to help clinicians and patients make informed decisions regarding care. Some additional benefits of receiving a CT angiogram include the following:
- It may eliminate the need for surgery.
- This is a fast, noninvasive procedure, and you may experience fewer complications.
- It provides precise anatomic details to aid in accurate diagnosis.
- There is no need for general anesthesia or sedation.
- Radiation does not remain in the body after the CT angiogram.
- The X-rays do not create immediate side effects.
What to Expect During Your CT Angiogram
The exact procedure of your CT angiography will vary depending on your specific condition. Generally, you can expect the procedure to begin with a clinician placing you on the exam table and administering the contrast material through an IV in your arm or hand.
As the clinician injects the contrast material, you may feel warm or have a metallic taste in your mouth. These feelings are side effects of the contrast material and will quickly pass.
When you enter the CT scanner, you may see lines of light projected onto your body. These lines help ensure you are in the correct position on the exam table. During the exam, you may also hear buzzing and whirring sounds as the scanner’s internal parts revolve during the imaging process.
Request an Appointment for a CT Angiogram Today
Envision Imaging and Colorado Springs Imaging offers CT angiography at our office locations in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Colorado. Please contact us today to learn more about our world-class services or request an appointment at an office closest to you.