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Updated on October 20, 2020

CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA)

CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA) is a non-invasive imaging test which is allows doctors to see detailed images of the blood vessels that supply the heart and lung.  A special contrast material in injected into your veins to obtain 3D pictures of the moving heart and great vessels.  The images can show

  • Fatty plaque, narrowing or blockage in the blood vessels
  • Characteristics of plaque (soft, mixed or calcified)
  • Location and size of the plaque
  • Size of the artery lumen
  • Bulge, aneurysm or dissection in the vessels

A CTCA is a less invasive test than a standard angiogram and is useful to screen those with intermediate risk profiles for coronary artery disease with suspicious cardiac symptoms, inconclusive Exercise Stress Test or those with suspected congenital abnormalities of coronary arteries.

How to prepare for CTCA?

  • Wear comfortable or loose-fitting clothing because you may need to change into a gown for the procedure
  • Avoid wearing metal objects (such as earrings, necklaces, spectacles or hairpins) because they may affect the image quality
  • You may need to avoid eating or drinking anything for a few hours before the procedure
  • Please inform the nurse or doctor of all medications you are taking and any allergies
  • Women should always inform the nurse or doctor if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant
  • The CTCA may take 15-20 minutes and may require you to be calm and hold your breath when the image is being taken

Click to view Oxford AHSN video

Calcium Scoring (AGATSTON score)

The Score is based on the amount of calcification in the plaque found in the coronary arteries and may be used to predict the cardiovascular outcome.  Higher scores may suggest that there is a higher cardiovascular burden to the patient.

Score 0.  No to minimum calcification

Score 1–10.  Small amount of calcification

Score 11-100.  Some calcification

Score 101–400.  Moderate amount of calcification

Score over 400. Large amount of calcification

Your doctor will discuss the findings with you as to your treatment options which may be lifestyle and diet changes, medical treatment, angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery

Caution:

  • The Calcium Scoring is a guide but not a guarantee to the risk of heart attack. People with low scores may still develop heart disease and should be used together with other tests to estimate cardiovascular risk
  • Please note that CTCA is not a substitute for conventional coronary angiogram and may not be suitable for those with irregular heart rhythm, asthma, kidney problems or a history of allergies. 

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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