When plaque builds up in coronary arteries, potentially affecting your heart health, a Coronary Computed Tomographic Angiography, or Coronary CTA may be necessary to diagnose the severity of the buildup. Coronary CTA is a test that Radiologists use to visualize coronary arteries to avoid the use of invasive procedures. The main purpose of the coronary CTA is to detect and characterize atherosclerotic plaque so that a Radiologist can interpret the findings.
Coronary CT angiography is a test performed on patients to detect atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries. Many physicians currently prefer to use the coronary CTA to detect whether the buildup of plaque in the arteries is life-threatening.
Depending on age and heart conditions, there are several different preparations one must make before getting a coronary CTA.
For a coronary CT angiography exam, you will first lie down on a table for what is called a Coronary Artery Calcification Scoring (CACS). This test is designed to detect the calcified plaque that has built up in the arteries. The EKG leads placed on the chest area will help follow heart rate. If there is a significant amount of calcified plaque in the patient's chest, then it will be impossible to proceed with the coronary CTA.
Those who do not have a large amount of calcified plaque will begin the second part of the exam, which consists of receiving a contrasting agent to get the best images of the heart. The exam will continue with a scan of your body, in order to create an image of the plaque through the arteries.
After the exam is over, there are no additional precautions or instructions. Schedule an appointment with your physician in order to go over the radiology report, and to see if further testing or treatment is necessary.