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CT Angiogram

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CT ANGIOGRAM DEFINITION

A CT angiogram (also known as a computerized tomography coronary angiogram) is an imaging exam that takes a close look at your arteries that supply your heart with blood. It doesn't use a catheter thread like a traditional coronary angiogram; it's instead a powerful x-ray machine that produces images of your heart vessels and heart.

CT ANGIOGRAM PURPOSE

A coronary CT angiogram is primarily done in order to check for narrowed arteries (or blockages within them) in your heart that could lead to coronary artery disease. It's also useful when it comes to explaining chest pains or screening you for risk of heart disease.

CT ANGIOGRAM RISKS

Radiation exposure is your primary risk when undergoing a CT angiogram. As such, you shouldn't undergo this procedure if you're pregnant or nursing. Because you may also be injected with a contrast dye to make the images clearer, you're in risk of allergies as well.

CT ANGIOGRAM PREPARATION REQUIRED

CT ANGIOGRAM
Image: CT ANGIOGRAM
You probably need to wear a hospital gown and take off all metal objects on your person before undergoing this procedure. You should also fast for four to eight hours before the test. You can drink water, but not coffee, soft drinks, hard liquor, and so forth because they can affect the results of the test.

CT ANGIOGRAM PROCEDURE

You may be injected with a beta blocker, which slows your heart rate. You'll also be injected a numbing solution if the contrast material is to be taken intravenously. From there, electrodes will be put on your chest to record your heart rate while you're placed in a doughnut-shaped chamber to get you slowly and gently scanned.

CT ANGIOGRAM COMPLICATIONS

Complications include adverse effects from the beta blocker, contrast material, and numbing solution, which can range from mildly allergic to life threatening. Complications from radiation exposure can increase your chances for cancer.

CT ANGIOGRAM SIDE EFFECTS

Taking a CT angiogram produces no immediate side effects. Instead, the numbing solution, contrast material may produce adverse effects relating to allergies. Beta blocker side effects include nausea, diarrhea, bronchospasm, hypotension, fatigue, and dizziness.

CT ANGIOGRAM RESULTS

The results of your CT angiogram will help the doctor confirm whether or not you have a heart disease or condition that needs immediate treatment, or at least have high risk for one. Treatments will vary in accordance to the results, although since you were told to take a CT angiogram in the first place, you may have to make lifestyle changes regardless.
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