Volume rendered 3-D coronary CTA showing a stenosis of the left anterior descending artery
Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease, the leading cause of death for Americans. About 1.1 million Americans suffer a heart attack each year.
What is a Coronary CTA?
Using a 64 slice CT scanner, LVDI can non invasively evaluate the coronary arteries for atherosclerotic narrowings. Clinical studies have shown that coronary CTA is reliable for the non invasive assessment of the proximal and mid regions of the coronary arteries where the majority of stenoses are found. Both the sensitivity and specificity for the detection of clinically significant stenoses are approximately 90%. The negative predictive value (chance of NOT having disease) is greater than 95%.
Who should consider a Coronary CTA?
Patients who are asymptomatic but have a strong family history of heart disease should consult with their primary care physician. Patients who are having abnormal symptoms and are at moderate risk and those who have had a normal stress test but having symptoms should consider this exam.
What happens when I arrive for my CTA?
A skilled technologist will place an IV in your arm. To obtain clear pictures, a heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute is needed. When that heart rate is achieved, you will lie on your back on the scanner table with your arms above your head. You will slowly move through the CT scanner. You will be able to hear the staff through speakers in the CT machine and they will be watching you the entire time. The CT scanner will make a whirring sound ( not loud) as it begins to rotate around you. You will be asked to hold your breath. The new CT scanner can examine the whole heart in 5 heartbeats, so the test is very fast. As you pass through the x ray beams, the IV contrast will be injected into the arteries and you might feel a warm sensation, which will quickly pass.
What happens after the procedure?
You may be asked to say a short time afterward for observation. You may resume your normal diet and activities immediately after the test. Drink extra water to flush out the IV contrast from your system.
How do I obtain my results?
A radiologist and cardiologist will review and interpret the results of your test and share them with your primary doctor. Your doctor will then share them with you.
Are there reasons why I shouldn't have this test?
- You have had severe allergic reactions to IV contrast dye.
- You are actively wheezing or have very low BP
- You have atrial fibrillation or other irregular heart rhythm
- Your doctor determines that this is not the correct test for you.
- You are pregnant
Is Coronary CTA covered by my insurance?
Generally insurance companies do not cover exams for screening purposes. However, if a coronary CTA is deemed medically necessary, insurance may cover the cost. Please check with your insurance provider. Precertification may be necessary..