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WHAT IS CT CORONARY ANGIOGRAM
A Computerized Tomography (CT) Coronary Angiogram is an imaging test that takes a view at the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It might also be used to diagnose the reason behind chest pain or other symptoms.
A CT coronary angiogram depends on a powerful X-ray machine to produce pictures of the heart and its blood vessels. These tests are non-invasive and usually do not demand for healing time. Coronary CT angiograms are becoming a preferred alternative test for people who are suffering from cardiac-related diseases.
The conventional coronary angiography demands that a flexible tube (catheter) should be threaded through the groin or arm to the heart or coronary arteries. If people have been detected with coronary artery disease, the doctors might prescribe a traditional coronary angiogram because people could also receive treatment during that process.
HOW CT CORONARY ANGIOGRAM IS DONE
Before the process
The doctors might provide people with a medication known as a beta-blocker to slow the heart rate. This ensures that the scan produces a clearer image. People should tell their health care providers if they have ever faced any side effects from beta-blockers in the past. People might also be given nitroglycerin to widen their coronary arteries. If people are allergic to contrast material, then they might be given medication to reduce the risk of any possible reactions.
During the Process
A technician would provide people with a numbing medication before putting in an intravenous (IV) line in the hand or arm to insert the dye that would make the arteries of heart visible on the images. Though the actual scanning part of the test takes a few seconds, the complete process could take up to an hour.
The technician would place electrodes on the chest region to record the heart rate. People have to lie on a long table that slides through a short, tunnel-like machine. During the scan, they would need to stay motionless and hold their breath; this ensures that there is no haze in the images. If people are uncomfortable in closed spaces, they could ask their doctors if they need medication to help them relax.
A technician would operate the machine from a room that is unconnected from the exam room by a glass window. An intercom system would allow communication between the technician and the person undergoing the test.
After the Process
After the CT angiogram gets completed, people could return to their regular activities. They should drink plenty of water, which would help in flushing the dye from the body.
People would be exposed to some radiation during the test. The amount differs depending on the type of machinery used. The vulnerability of developing cancer from a CT angiogram is not known, but the chances are quite low. However, a lady who is expecting a child should not have a CT angiogram because of potential harm to the unborn child. There is a possibility that people could have an allergic reaction to the dye used in the procedure.
Generally, people would be asked not to eat anything for about four hours before the test. People could drink water, but they have to avoid caffeinated drinks 12 hours before the test because they are known to increase the heart rate, which could make it difficult for the doctor to get clearer images of the heart.