What is CT Coronary Angiography?

CT coronary angiography is an incredible new procedure that provides detailed visualization of the heart's arteries. We are proud to be one of the first outpatient centers in the country to offer this cutting edge technology. CT coronary angiography can be performed more quickly, comfortably and affordably than standard coronary angiography. The images are very similar to those provided by invasive heart catheterization, without catheters and without the need to insert equipment into the body. Only an IV line and a small amount of dye are required, so there is minimal risk. This new procedure takes advantage of the huge advances made in CT scanning and software processing technology, and allows us to create 3-dimensional images of the heart.

How is this test different from a Heart Scan
(Coronary Calcium Score)?
A Heart Scan allows us to precisely measure calcium deposits, which are markers of plaque formation in the coronary arteries. It does not let us measure the degree of narrowing in the arteries.

The CT angiogram gives us precise pictures of how the blood is flowing through the arteries and whether there are any restrictions in blood flow. It also allows visualizations of "soft plaques" which may or may not have calcium deposits.

What will I experience during the procedure?
No hospitalization is required and the entire procedure usually lasts only 30 minutes. The actual scan itself only takes about 15 seconds, and you remain fully clothed. First, a regular IV is placed in the arm and contrast dye is injected. Next, you hold your breath for 10 seconds and pictures are taken of the heart. There is no long catheter threaded into the internal structures as with the traditional hospital catheterization procedure, thus reducing the risk of side effects. The IV is taken out after the procedure is completed and you can go home.

Is there any other special preparation that may be required?
Depending on your individual case, you may be required to take a medication to slow your heart the morning of the study. You should not experience any side effects from this. You may be asked to fast for a few hours before the study and refrain from drinking caffenated beverages. Lab reports will be required prior to the study, if they haven't been done lately, to assess your kidney function.

Benefits of CT angiography are best for:

  • Follow-up of patients with high calcium scores (usually >100).
  • Patients with unusual chest pain syndromes.
  • Patients with questionable stress test results.
  • Pre-op evaluation of the arteries before a surgical procedure.
  • A monitor of patients who have had stent placements or open heart surgeries in the past to determine if the stents or bypass grafts are still open and functioning adequately.
  • Annual follow-up of heart transplant patients.
  • Evaluation of congenital heart anomalies.
  • Patients with unusual chest pain syndromes and/or SOB

Am I a candidate for this test?
You should discuss whether this is an appropriate test for you with your physician. Since it is so new, your doctor may not be familiar with this test. We would be happy to discuss CT angiography with your doctor. A report of the findings will be mailed to your physician if you desire.

When will I get the results?
At Florida Institute for Advanced Diagnostic Imaging our physician will review the results with you immediately after the test. You will have plenty of time to have any questions answered. If necessary the results can be sent to your doctor immediately.

How much radiation is involved?
There is significantly less radiation than there is with a standard heart catheterization.

How much does this test cost?
The CT coronary angiogram costs $1250 - including physician visit. This is much less expensive than a standard angiogram which costs about $7,000.

Is this procedure being covered by insurance companies?
We can provide you with forms to submit but cannot guarantee your insurance company will pay.

For specific instructions/restriction on exam preparation, please refer to our Patient Prep Instructions.