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A CT coronary angiogram is a type of X-ray examination used to examine the blood vessels in the heart
A CT coronary angiogram is performed to investigate the blood vessels supplying blood to your heart; your coronary arteries. It can help in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. It can also look at the structure of your heart.
If your doctor or cardiologist thinks your symptoms may be related to a problem with your coronary arteries they can refer you for a CT coronary angiogram. It may be that you have had previous imaging and this is a useful follow up.
The CT coronary angiogram is done as an outpatient and is less invasive than a standard coronary angiogram, done in a cardiac catheter suite, so your doctor may feel it is more suitable for you at this time.
A CT coronary angiogram is performed as an outpatient in the imaging department on the lower ground floor of the Benenden Hospital.
You will be sent an appointment letter and preparation sheet which tells you how to prepare and what will happen during the test.
We will ask you to arrive in plenty of time, the stress of being late will increase your heart rate, which makes the scan more difficult.
A CT scanner is shaped like a Polo mint, it is a lot more open than an MRI scanner and even claustrophobic patients tolerate it well.
A radiographer will put a cannula (Small plastic tube) in a vein in your arm. This is so they can give you the x-ray contrast, sometimes called x-ray dye and any other medication which you may require during the scan.
ECG dots will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart rate during the scan. The CT scanner takes the images in time to your heart beat so we aim to have a steady, healthy low heart rate.
If your heart rate is a little fast one of the consultant radiologist will come to speak to you and, if safe to do so, administer a short acting beta blocker which is a medicine to slow the heart rate down.
The scanner scans your heart when the x-ray contrast if filling your coronary arteries.
Once the images have been checked to make sure they are of a good diagnostic quality one of the team will come and move you out of the scanner .
The time in the scan room is normally about 30 minutes.
You can eat and drink normally after your scan, you will be asked to keep well hydrated with water, squash or juice for 2 days after the scan.
Most people will be fine to drive after their scan.
The results will go back to the doctor who referred you for the scan