What Coronary Computed Tomography is all About?

Coronary computed tomography is a non-invasive heart-imaging test that is undergoing rapid development for determining whether fatty deposits or calcium deposits have built up in the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. If left untreated, it can lead to heart muscle disease. Heart muscle disease leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and/or heart attack.

For Coronary CTA scan, physicians use an iodine-containing contrast dye solution to capture the best images. The same solution may be used to slow or stabilize the patient’s heart rate for better imaging results. During the medical test, X-rays are passed through the body and are picked up by special detectors in the Coronary CTA scanner. Generally 16 or more detectors are used to capture clear final images. This is the reason why Coronary computed tomography is also referred to as “multi-detector” or “multi-slice” CT scanning. The information collected during the Coronary CTA examination is used to identify the coronary arteries and plaques in their walls and to create 3D images on a computer screen.

Coronary computed tomography scan carries some risk from X-ray exposure and contrast dye exposure. So, patients need to consult their primary physician before they decide to consider a Coronary CTA scan. The scan has been particularly valuable in asymptomatic patients with higher risk for coronary disease, in patients with unusual symptoms but lower risk of coronary disease, or in patients with unclear stress-test results. For these patients, coronary computed tomography scan can provide significant insights to their primary physician about the extent and nature of plaque formation with or without any narrowing of the coronary arteries.

However, the consultation with the primary physician is a must for patients who wish to determine the appropriateness of Coronary computed tomography scan.

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