A CT Coronary Angiography (CTCA) is used to assess why you are experiencing chest pain, in particular those who are at intermediate risk of coronary artery disease.
A CTCA is a non-invasive imaging study which is quick and painless. It’s used to evaluate the condition of your coronary arteries but differs from a Calcium Score as CTCA can identify narrowing of arteries and distinguish between the hard (calcified) and soft (un-calcified) plaques. The soft plaques are often hard to see on other imaging modalities, but it’s these which can cause heart attacks.
Heart disease is the hardening, narrowing or blocking of blood vessels in your heart and a CTCA can offer early detection of this condition.
If you have a CTCA, you will also have a Cardiac Calcium Score. You can read about this procedure here.
How do I prepare?
- Please don’t have any caffeine for 24 hours prior to your appointment. (This includes Coke, Tea, Coffee and Chocolate). Drinking water is fine and we recommend you remain hydrated.
- Please don’t exercise in the 12 hours prior to your scan.
- Please don’t eat or drink anything in the 2 hours before your scan.
- Please arrive early for your exam as you will be asked to change into a gown. Wearing a two piece outfit can make this easier for you.
- If you are on any medication, it’s very important you follow the instructions given to you by your referring Doctor about whether to continue or cease taking them.
- We also need to you to take a tablet at dinner the night before the examination and one 2 hours before your scan. These should be taken with a light snack or food.
- The tablet is either a Beta-Blocker or a Calcium Channel Blocker to control your heart rate during the scan.
- Your referring doctor will provide these tablets, however we also have a supply should you need.
Technology and Team
Your CT will be performed by an experienced Radiographer. A Radiographer is a university-trained health professional who works with cutting-edge technology to produce X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans and other images.
At Queensland X-Ray we have a team of Clinical Support Workers (CWS) who will remain with you throughout your scan and make sure you’re comfortable from start to finish.
Once the images are taken, they’ll be read by a Radiologist – a highly trained specialist medical doctor – who will interpret the images to diagnose illness and injury.
What happens during my examination
The Radiographer will explain exactly what will happen during your procedure. It may vary slightly from what we describe below, so don’t worry if this is the case, you’ll always be in very good hands.
On arriving for you appointment your heart rate will be taken to see if you need any additional medication to slow your heart rate.
We will insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm. We will use this to give you some contrast, which will enhance the images we take of your heart.
An ECG will be placed on your chest for the duration of the scan. This will measure your heart rate.
Throughout your examination you will be asked to hold your breath several times, for no longer than 10 seconds at any one time.
Following this procedure you will be asked to remain in the practice for around 30 minutes so we can monitor your heart rate and blood pressure while they return to normal. During this time we’ll give you something to eat and drink.
The scan doesn’t take long, but please allow an hour and half for your appointment.
After your examination
The results of your CTCA will be sent directly to your referring Doctor. Please ensure you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss your results with them.
The cost of a CTCA will depend on the reason for your scan. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
Currently, only referrals from Cardiologists attract a Medicare rebate for CTCA.