Computed Tomography Coronary Angiography (CTA)

Computed tomography coronary angiography (CTA) is a newly developed technique for non-invasive evaluation of coronary artery disease. A CT scan is an X-ray procedure that, combined with iodine-based contrast agents, generates cross sectional views of the heart and coronary arteries.

At the Emory Cardiac Imaging Center, we use a state-of-the-art multi-detector CT system to acquire high-resolution images of the heart and great vessels. This advanced technology is being used more and more to identify calcified and non-calcified plaques in the coronary arteries and to exclude the possibility of stenosis due to atherosclerosis. Early stages of coronary atherosclerosis can be detected before the development of coronary arterial narrowing.

Indications

  • Identification of coronary artery narrowing
  • Identification of plaque buildup in the coronary arteries before the development of arterial narrowing
  • Evaluation of bypass grafts after coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Evaluation of congenital anomalies of the coronary arteries or great vessels
  • Assessment of the coronary vein for pacemaker implantation
  • Detection of aortic aneurysm or dissection

Preparing for the Procedure

The patient will be asked not to eat or drink for two hours and to avoid caffeinated drinks and exercise for six hours prior to the procedure. The patient will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire to identify any allergies to foods, drugs or iodine. In certain situations, the patient may need a blood test to assess kidney function and to exclude pregnancy prior to the scan.

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