What is CT Angiography?

CT angiography (CTA) uses computed tomography (CT) technology to examine blood vessels in key areas of the body including the brain, kidneys, pelvis, legs, lungs, heart and neck.

Iodinated contrast medium is used to highlight the blood vessels during the imaging phase of the examination.

What will happen during the examination?

You may be asked to change into a gown and/or remove jewellery.

A small plastic IV catheter is placed into a vein of your arm. A syringe is filled with contrast, placed in a mechanical pressure injector and attached to the catheter. The injection process will then start. Most people experience a temporary warming sensation when the contrast is administered. This dissipates quickly. Scanning takes a place at a time where optimal visualisation of the blood vessels can be achieved.

You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds during the scan. The scans are so quick that large areas of the body can be imaged in a single breath hold.

Are there any risks?

You will receive a small dose of x-ray radiation. The benefits of detecting disease are believed to outweigh any potential risks from receiving such a small dose. However, please advise the radiographer if you are, or think you may be pregnant.

Problems related to the contrast injection are very rare. The procedural risks are less than conventional catheter angiography. The injection will be discussed prior to the examination and you will be asked to complete a questionnaire and give your consent.

Please inform us if you are taking any diabetic medication, have kidney disease or have had a previous reaction to x-ray contrast.

After the examination

After the scan we use powerful 3D computer workstations to evaluate the source data, generate images and create anatomic displays of the vessels which the radiologist (a specialist medical imaging doctor) uses to produce the examination report.

The scan processing and reporting takes more time than other radiology procedures due to the complicated imaging required. For your convenience we can generally deliver the imaging and report to your doctor by the next working day. Alternatively your doctor may request that you return later to collect the imaging and report.