CT Coronary Angiogram

A CT Coronary Angoigram or "CTCA" is a scan that records pictures of your heart.


What is a CT coronary angiogram or CTCA?

A CT coronary angiogram or "CTCA" is a scan that records pictures of your heart. Before the pictures are taken, dye is injected into a vein (usually in your arm). The dye highlights any blockages in your coronary arteries, helping to diagnose coronary artery disease.

Why do I need a CTCA?

Your doctor may recommend a CTCA if you have symptoms of coronary artery disease, like:

  • Pain or discomfort in your arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Irregular heart beat - arrhythmia
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive sweating
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light-headedness or dizziness

Below, you can watch a short video explaining more about a CTCA from one of our doctors

Below, you can watch an animation explaining what happens during a CTCA.

What are the risks of a CTCA?

Severe reactions to CTCA are rare, but some risks do exist, including:

  • Allergy to the X-ray dye (tell your doctor if you have a history of allergies)
  • Kidney problems as a result of the X-ray dye (in patients with a history of kidney problems)
  • Headache from medication given during the procedure

If you have any concerns about the risks, chat to your doctor.

How do I prepare for a CTCA?

To prepare for a CTCA, you need to:

  • Limit caffeine consumption, including herbal tea, coffee, chocolate and cola - these can increase your heart rate
  • Bring a friend or family member - someone to support you before, during and after your procedure
  • Have a cannula (small tube) inserted in a vein (usually in your arm)

You may need to take medication to slow your heart rate, as CTCA images are clearer when the heart rate is low. If you have asthma, diabetes, kidney problems or a history of allergies, you may not be able to have a CTCA. In these cases, your doctor will be able to advise you on another treatment option.

What happens during a CTCA?

Here’s what usually happens during a CTCA:

  • You’ll be taken to the procedure room and asked to put on on a hospital gown
  • You’ll lie on a CT scanning bed that slides under the CT machine
  • You’ll be connected to a heart rate monitor which will watch your heart rate and rhythm
  • The X-ray dye will be injected in the cannula
  • You’ll be asked to hold your breath for around 10 seconds and lie very still each time an image is taken

What happens after a CTCA?

As soon as the CTCA is finished, you’ll be taken to a recovery area, and doctors will observe you to ensure you’re recovering well. The cannula will be removed from your arm, and if you’re feeling well you can go home. Your doctor will make a follow-up appointment with you to discuss the results of your CTCA. If the images show narrowing or blockages, your doctor will help you to decide the best treatment option for you.