Cardiac CT

What is a CT Coronary Angiogram?

CTCA is a non-invasive diagnostic examination which images the coronary arteries using Computed Tomography (CT) imaging. If the patients meet the correct indications, CTCA can be used instead of an invasive conventional coronary angiogram to evaluate coronary artery disease (CAD) and detect stenosis and plaques.

What is a calcium score test?

A cardiac CT scan for coronary calcium is a non-invasive way of obtaining information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries—the vessels that supply oxygen-containing blood to the heart muscle. This is a quick non-invasive test that does not require any preparation.

Why would my doctor refer me for a cardiac CT?

  • Your doctor or specialist may refer you for a CTCA if you present symptoms of coronary artery disease (CDCA). This test is highly effective in excluding CDCA but has the advantage of lower risk and radiation compared to the more invasive interventional coronary angiogram. You may have been referred if you have:
    • Acute chest pain without ST elevation for reliable exclusion of CAD
    • Atypical chest pain on intermediate risk patients to rule out CAD
    • Inconclusive stress testing
    • Ruling out CAD for stable patients who are of intermediate risk
    • Before non-coronary cardiac surgery to exclude CAD
    • Assessment of coronary bypass grafts or coronary stents
    • Suspected pericardial disease or cardiac masses
    • Pulmonary vein isolation
    • Coronary abnormalities

     

Preparation For The Scan

  • A renal function test if the patient is diabetic or over 75 years of age.
  • Beta-Blockers will need to be prescribed by the referring doctor to lower the heart rate for the examination. You may be advised to take this the night before and an hour before the exam.
  • No caffeine 24 hours prior to the examination. This includes tea, coffee, energy drinks and alcohol.
  • Usual medication can be taken unless informed otherwise by your doctor.
  • The patient is to fast for 4 hours before their appointment. Patient to arrive 40 minutes prior to the examination
  • Keep well hydrated
  • We advise someone to drive you on the day

What to expect on the day of the examination

A trained staff member will go through a brief medical history, questionnaire and consent form. On arrival, if the patients heart rate is high, drugs will be administered to bring it down to an acceptable range. This can take up to 2 hours. Please factor this in when making an appointment. If the patients heart rate continues to remain high, we may have to abort the scan.

Prior to scanning, patient’s will be given a spray of nitroglycerine behind their tongue; this causes the blood vessels of the heart to dilate for better visualisation during the scan. The effects will only last for 10-30 minutes.

What are the risks associated with CTCA?

CTCA involves an injection of contrast, therefore there is a low risk of a reaction to the contrast media. CT uses ionising radiation, however this is relatively low compared to interventional coronary angiography.

How long is will a CTCA take?

The patient should expect to be in the scanning room for approximately 15 minutes. However, you are required to be present 40miniutes beforehand so we can monitor and stabilise your heart rate. You will also be asked to wait in our recovery before you are discharged. Please allow up to two hours for the examination.

Recovery after the exam

The patient will be moved to a rest area and a staff member will ensure they are feeling ok before being sent home. It is recommended to arrange someone to drive the patient home after the exam.

Do I need to book for a Cardiac CT?

Booking is required for CTCA as preparation is required, however no booking is needed for a calcium sore test.

If you have any questions regarding charges or would like to know more information, please contact our friendly staff on bookings@castlehilldx.com.au or admin@castlehilldx.com.au. Or directly reach us on Call 02 8660 1400.