Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is a heart imaging test that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart. Computed tomography, more commonly known as a CT or CAT scan, is a diagnostic medical test that, like Traditional X-rays, produces multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.
CCTA is very much like a normal CT scan. The only difference is the speed of the CT scanner and the use of a heart monitor to determine your heart rate
CCTA is not invasive. A major advantage of CT is that it is able to view bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time. It is therefore suited to identify other reasons for your discomfort such as an injury to the aorta.
One good news is that no radiation remains in a patient’s body after a CT examination. X-rays used in CT scans should have no immediate side effects.
Many physicians advocate the careful use of CCTA for patients who experience the following:
- Suspected abnormal anatomy of the coronary arteries.
- Low or intermediate risk for coronary artery disease.
- Low to intermediate risk atypical chest pain.
- Non-acute chest pain.
- New or worsening symptoms with a previous normal stress test result.
- Unclear stress test results.
- New onset heart failure with reduced heart function and low or medium risk for coronary artery disease.
- Intermediate risk of coronary artery disease before non-coronary cardiac surgery.
- Coronary artery bypass grafts.