CT coronary angiography is a method of visualising what is happening in the coronary arteries. It is done without penetrating the skin or inserting instruments inside blood vessels. CT scanning is used in combination with a contrast substance injected into a vein to make the arteries that supply the heart show up clearly. The image produced is a live, 3-D image that shows how well blood is reaching your heart muscle.
Why would I need CT coronary angiography?
If you have been having chest pains or angina this type of heart scan will show whether your coronary arteries are narrowed or have blockages that need treatment. A CT coronary angiogram can also be used to investigate whether a stent introduced previously by angioplasty remains open.
How long does CT coronary angiography take?
The whole procedure is done within half an hour and the actual scanning, which is performed straight after the contrast substance is injected into the vein in the back of your hand, takes less than a minute. Some patients need an injection of beta blockers to improve the quality of the image but this does not add significantly to the overall length of the procedure.
Will I need an anaesthetic if I have CT coronary angiography?
No, CT coronary angiography is completely painless. You will have a needle inserted into your hand through which you will receive the contrast substance, but you do not need a local anaesthetic or a sedative and you will remain fully conscious throughout.