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Home > Procedures > Diagnostic Imaging: CTA

CTA: Non Invasive Heart Imaging

Cardiac CT Angiography (CTA) is a new and revolutionary method of visualizing the inside of the coronary arteries.  With the latest advances in high resolution scanning, the 64-Slice CT Scanner can create amazingly detailed and accurate images of the heart, lungs, and arteries in just seconds.  That means easier, non-invasive diagnosis of the cause of symptoms and earlier detection of developing problems before symptoms have started.

Non Invasive Heart ImagingUntil now, Cardiac Catheterization has been the most important tool for evaluating the arteries of the heart. But, Cardiac Catheterization is an invasive procedure done with a catheter placed in an artery in the leg and advanced under X-ray guidance to the heart.  Contrast dye is then injected directly into the arteries on the surface of the heart and X-rays are taken that show whether any of the vessels are narrowed.

Cardiac CTA allows a much smaller amount of dye to be injected through a small IV in a vein of the arm followed by a 10 second CT scan of the heart. Unlike Cardiac Catheterization, with the IV injection there is no risk of vascular damage, heart attack or stroke.  After the scan, the IV is removed and you can go home, to work, or resume your normal activities immediately.

Non Invasive Heart ImagingCardiac CTA is an excellent, non-invasive and safer test for the 1 out of every 3 people advised to have a Cardiac Catheterization who ultimately find they do not have any have significantly blocked arteries.  Cardiac CTA avoid the risk of complications (including heart attack, strokes, bleeding and even emergency surgery) that can occur in about 1-2% of Cardiac Catheterization and CTA eliminates the need for a stay in the hospital. 

Cardiac CTA is a highly accurate alternative to Cardiac Catheterization for those people who have an abnormal stress test but are unlikely to have significant heart disease. In people with non-diagnostic (equivocal or borderline) stress tests, or those with “negative” stress tests but who are at high risk of coronary artery disease, Cardiac CTA can quickly and non-invasively determine whether significant coronary artery disease is present.  If you have an elevated Coronary Calcium Score, a Cardiac CTA can be used to determine the severity of narrowing of the arteries.
Cardiac CTA exposes patients to less radiation than a Nuclear Stress Test while providing more information about the actual anatomy and location of blockages in the arteries.

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