Computed Tomography

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CT ANGIOGRAPHY PERFORMED BY HILL MEDICAL

What is CT Angiography?

Computerized tomographic angiography, also called CT angiography or CTA, is a test that combines the technology of a conventional CT scan with that of traditional angiography to create detailed images of the blood vessels in the body.

In a CT scan, x rays and computers create images that show cross-sections, or slices, of your body. Angiography involves the injection of contrast dye into a large blood vessel, usually in your leg, to help visualize the blood vessels and the blood flow within them. When the contrast dye is used to visualize your veins, the study is called a venogram, and when it is used to visualize your arteries, it is known as an arteriogram. CT angiography is similar to a CT scan, but the contrast dye is injected into one of your veins shortly before the x ray image is performed. Because the dye is injected into a vein rather than into an artery, as in traditional angiography, CT angiography could be considered less invasive.

What is CT Angiography used for?

Your physician may order CT angiography to help diagnose a narrowing or obstruction of the arteries, an aneurysm, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or another vascular condition.

CT angiography is used to examine blood vessels in key areas of the body, including the:

  • brain
  • abdomen (such as the kidneys and liver)
  • pelvis
  • legs
  • arms
  • lungs
  • heart
  • neck

Physicians use the procedure to:

  • identify abnormalities, such as aneurysms, in the aorta, both in the chest and abdomen, or in other arteries.
  • detect atherosclerosis disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.
  • identify a small aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation inside the brain.
  • detect atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs and help prepare for endovascular intervention or surgery.
  • detect disease in the arteries to the kidneys or visualize blood flow to help prepare for a kidney transplant.
  • guide interventional radiologists and surgeons making repairs to diseased blood vessels, such as implanting stents or evaluating a stent after implantation.
  • detect injury to one or more arteries in the neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis or extremities in trauma patients.
  • evaluate arteries feeding a tumor prior to surgery or other procedures such as chemoembolization or selective internal radiation therapy.
  • identify dissection or splitting in the aorta in the chest or abdomen or its major branches.
  • show the extent and severity of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries and plan for a surgical operation, such as a coronary bypass and stenting.
  • sample blood from specific veins in the body to detect any endocrine disease.
  • examine pulmonary arteries in the lungs to detect pulmonary embolism (blood clots from leg veins).
  • look at congenital abnormalities in blood vessels, especially arteries in children (e.g., malformations in the heart due to birth defects).
  • evaluate obstructions of vessels (e.g., blood clots in the lungs).

During the study, you will lie down on a table, which passes through a donut-shaped device. Inside the device, a machine takes x rays in arcs around the area of your body being examined. Tissues of varying densities absorb these x rays in varying amounts. The computer assigns these densities different numerical values and then plots an image based on these values, in shades of gray. During the CT angiogram, a dose of contrast dye will be injected into one of your veins. As the dye flows through your circulatory system, it will highlight your blood vessels on the scan. A computer will produce 3-dimensional (3D) images of your blood vessels from the x ray images.