630 Broad Street
Carlstadt, New Jersey
201.372.1020

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CT Angiography (CTA)


What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?

Coronary artery disease is the single leading cause of death in the United States affecting more than 13 million Americans. The coronary arteries supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients. When blood flow through the coronary arteries becomes obstructed, it is known as coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is caused by the gradual buildup of fatty deposits in your coronary arteries (atherosclerosis). As the deposits slowly narrow your coronary arteries, your heart receives less blood. Eventually, diminished blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath or other symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack. Since coronary artery disease often develops over decades, it can go virtually unnoticed until it produces a heart attack.
 

Frequently Asked Questions
CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?
CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City What are some of the risk factors for CAD?
CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City What is a coronary artery CT angiogram?
CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City How is coronary artery CTA different from other tests?
CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City Who should consider having a coronary artery CT angiogram?
CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City Do I need to have X-ray dye (contrast)?
CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City Will my insurance pay for this exam?
CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City How can I find out more about Coronary CTA?


What are some of the risk factors for CAD?

Risk factors include:

  • A family history of heart disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
 


What is a coronary artery CT angiogram?

CT Angiogram ImagesCoronary artery CT Angiography (CTA) is a special type of x-ray examination used to visualize blood flow in the vessels of the heart. Patients who have this test will have a small intravenous (I.V.) catheter placed in their arm and will receive an iodine-containing contrast dye to help ensure the best images possible of the coronary arteries. The same I.V. may be used to give a safe medication (commonly used by patients with high blood pressure and heart disease) to slow or stabilize the heart rate for better imaging results. During the examination, which takes about 10 minutes, X-rays pass through the body and are picked up by special detectors which give the final images. Typically, the higher the number of detectors, the better the image. For this reason, this technique is often called "multi-detector" or multi-slice" CT scanning. The Sovereign Health Imaging has a 64-slice multidetector CT, the highest number of detectors available for clinical imaging.


How is coronary artery CTA different from other tests?

Cardiac catheterization or traditional coronary angiography is one of the most common test to look for narrowing of the coronary arteries. Patients who have this procedure done have a catheter inserted into an artery in their groin which is then maneuvered up the large vessels of the abdomen into the chest and, finally, into the vessels of the heart. Once the catheter is in position, iodine-containing contrast dye is injected through the catheter and pictures of the heart are taken using x-rays. Once the procedure is done, patients require several hours to recover and may require an overnight hospital stay. Compared to traditional catheter angiography, coronary CTA is a safer, less-invasive exam.

A negative CT coronary angiogram can often save the patient from having a catheter angiogram. If, however, an abnormality is found on CT coronary angiography, a traditional catheter angiogram may need to be performed subsequently for further diagnosis and treatment.


Who should consider having a
coronary artery CT angiogram?

In many patients, the first symptom of CAD is myocardial infarction or sudden death, with no preceding chest pain as a warning. For this reason, doctors perform screening tests to detect signs of CAD before serious medical events occur. Screening tests are of particular importance for patients with risk factors for CAD. Coronary CTA may be appropriate for:

  • symptomatic patients considering stress test or elective cardiac catheterization
  • asymptomatic patients with risk factors for coronary artery disease


Patients should decide with their doctor if coronary CTA is right for them.


Do I need to have X-ray dye (contrast)?

Yes. This study requires X-ray dye to be injected through a small I.V. in the arm. This dye allows the inside of the coronary arteries to be visualized. A small percentage of patients (less than 1 in 2000) have an allergic reaction to the dye. Our Radiologists are prepared to treat these rare situations. If you know you have an allergy to CT contrast, please notify our staff ahead of time.


Will my insurance pay for this exam?

Medicare and most third party providers will cover this exam if patients have a history of chest pain or known coronary artery disease. Studies performed on high risk patients that are not symptomatic are considered “screening” and are not generally covered by insurance. These patients can obtain a referral from their primary care physician but, they must pay for the procedure “out of pocket”.


How can I find out more about Coronary CTA?

Call our office at (201) 372-1020 to find out more about how to schedule this exam. You should consult your regular physician immediately if you are currently experiencing any symptoms of heart disease (chest pain or difficulty breathing).

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