CT angiography is a type of medical
test that combines a CT scan with an injection of a special dye to produce pictures
blood vessels and tissues in a part of your body. The dye is injected through an IV
(intravenous) line started in your arm or hand.
A CT scan is a type of X-ray that
uses a computer to make images of your body. The dye injected to do CT angiography
called a contrast material because it
blood vessels and tissues being studied.
You may need this test if you have
a problem that involves the blood vessels of your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, or
parts of your body. Healthcare providers may use the information from this test to
more about your condition and to decide the best way to treat you. Some reasons to
a CT angiogram include:
- To find a blood vessel that has become
enlarged and may be in danger of rupturing (aneurysm)
- To find blood vessels that have become
narrowed by atherosclerosis. In this condition, fatty material forms plaques in the
walls of arteries.
- To find abnormal blood vessel formations inside your brain
- To find blood vessels damaged by
- To find blood clots that may have
formed in your leg veins and traveled into your lungs.
- To assess a tumor that is fed by blood
Information from CT angiography may
help prevent a stroke or a heart attack. This type of test may also help your
plan cancer treatment or prepare you for a kidney transplant. Your
may have other reasons for ordering this test.
There is always a slight risk for
cancer from repeated exposure to radiation. But the benefits of getting an accurate
diagnosis generally outweigh the risks. No radiation remains in your body after a
Other risks include:
Allergic reactions. Always let your
radiologist know if you have
history of allergies or an allergy to contrast material. Reactions to contrast are
uncommon. If you have
history of allergic reactions, you may be given medicine to lessen the risk for an
allergic reaction before the test.
Tissue damage. If a large amount of
contrast material leaks around your IV site, it can irritate your skin or the blood
vessels and nerves just under your skin. It’s important to tell your radiologist or
radiology technician if you have any pain when the contrast material is injected
through your IV
Angiography contrast material can damage your kidneys, so you may not be able to have
this test if you have severe kidney disease or diabetes.
breastfeeding, there is very little risk to continue breastfeeding after the exam.
you may decide to wait for 24 hours after this test before nursing your baby. If
pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, tell your healthcare provider or radiology
There may be other risks, depending
on your specific health condition. Discuss any concerns with your
or radiology technician before the test.
Tell your healthcare provider and
your radiology technician about any medicines you take, including herbal supplements
other over-the-counter medicines. It’s important to tell your
and the radiology technician about any health conditions you may
as heart disease, diabetes, asthma,
or kidney disease, and any recent illness.
You may be asked to sign an
informed consent that describes the risks and benefits of this test. You should discuss
the risks and benefits with yourprovider
or the radiology technician. Other preparations include:
- You may be asked to stop eating and drinking for several hours before the test.
at home all metal objects, such as jewelry or hairpins, because metal can affect CT
may be asked to remove your eyeglasses, dentures, or hearing aids.
should wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Based on your health condition,
may have other instructions on how to get ready.
You may have this test done at the hospital or at another outpatient facility. The
CT scanner is a large machine with a tunnel that the examining table passes in and
out of. Tests may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider’s
Here is what may happen during the test:
- You will be placed on the exam table and positioned by a radiology technician.
- An IV line will be placed in your hand or arm.
- You may feel a warm sensation when the contrast material is injected, and you may
notice a metallic taste for a brief period.
- The radiology technician will leave the room just before the exam table moves through
the scanner. The technician will be able to observe you through a window from an adjacent
room and talk with you though an intercom.
- Scanning is painless. You may hear clicking, whirring, and buzzing sounds as the scanner
rotates around you.
- You may be asked to hold your breath
parts ofthe scan.
- Depending on what body area is being
scanned, the test may last for about 20 minutes up to an hour or so. You may have
wait a little longer until the technician doing the scan checks the images to make
After the test is completed,
have your IV
line removed. In most cases, you can return to all your normal
activities at home. You may be given some additional instructions after the test,
depending on your particular situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
- The name of the test or procedure
- The reason
having the test or procedure
- What results to expect and what they mean
- The risks and benefits of the test or procedure
- What the possible side effects or complications are
- When and where
to have the test or procedure
- Who will do the test or procedure and what that person’s qualifications are
- What would happen if you
have the test or procedure
- Any alternative tests or procedures to think about
- When and how
get the results
- Who to call after the test or procedure if you have questions or problems
- How much
have to pay for the test