Computed Tomography

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We are proud to offer state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging services in Pasadena and Glendora, California, and surrounding counties.

AFTER THE CT ANGIOGRAPHY EXAM PERFORMED BY HILL MEDICAL

What can I expect after a CT angiography?

There are no restrictions after a CT angiography and you can resume normal activities immediately.

You should drink plenty of fluids following the test to speed excretion of the contrast agent and to guard against dehydration.

Are there any complications?

The most serious early complication of CT angiography is an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. Reactions usually occur immediately and include flushing, itching, or, rarely, difficulty breathing or swallowing. Notify your physician if you experience any of these symptoms. Sometimes contrast dye leaks under your skin at the injection site. This can cause redness, swelling, or pain. The contrast dye can also damage kidney function depending upon the amount of the dye used and whether you have any kidney problems that already exist.

When will I get the CT Angiography results and how do I get them?

A radiologist with expertise in supervising and interpreting radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care physician or the physician who referred you for the exam, who will discuss the results with you.

Follow-up examinations are often necessary, and your doctor will explain the exact reason why another exam is requested. Sometimes a follow-up exam is done because a suspicious or questionable finding needs clarification with additional views or a special imaging technique. A follow-up examination may be necessary so that any change in a known abnormality can be detected over time. Follow-up examinations are sometimes the best way to see if treatment is working or if an abnormality is stable over time.

What are the benefits vs. risks?

Benefits

  • Angiography may eliminate the need for surgery. If surgery remains necessary, it can be performed more accurately.
  • CT angiography is able to detect narrowing or obstruction of blood vessels in time for corrective therapy to be done.
  • Many patients can undergo CT angiography instead of a conventional catheter angiogram (catheterization).
  • Compared to catheter angiography, which involves placing a catheter (plastic tube) and injecting contrast material into a large artery or vein, and may require sedation or general anesthesia, CT angiography is a much less invasive and more patient-friendly procedure.
  • This procedure is a useful way of screening for arterial and venous disease, as well as structural abnormalities of the heart because it is safer and much less time-consuming than catheter angiography and is a cost-effective procedure. There is also less discomfort because contrast material is injected into an arm vein rather than into a catheter inserted into a large artery or vein in the groin.
  • No radiation remains in a patient's body after a CT examination.
  • X-rays used in CT scans usually have no immediate side effects.

Risks

  • If you have a history of allergy to x-ray contrast material, your radiologist may advise that you take special medication, such as a steroid, for 24 hours before CT angiography to lessen the risk of allergic reaction. Another option is to undergo a different exam that does not call for contrast material injection.
  • If a large amount of x-ray contrast material leaks out from the vessel being injected and spreads under the skin where the IV is placed, skin damage or damage to blood vessels and nerves, though unlikely, can result. If you feel any pain in this area during contrast material injection, you should immediately inform the technologist.
  • Women should always inform their physician and x-ray or CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
  • Nursing mothers should wait for 24 hours after contrast material injection before resuming breast-feeding.
  • The risk of serious allergic reaction to contrast materials that contain iodine is extremely rare, but can occur. Please inform the technologist of any known allergies before the exam.

What are the limitations of CT Angiography?

A person who is very large may not fit into the opening of a conventional CT scanner or may be over the weight limit—usually 400 pounds—for the moving table.

CT angiography should be avoided in patients with a previous reaction to contrast material, advanced kidney disease or severe diabetes, because x-ray contrast material can further harm kidney function.


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