Mercy Medical Center North Iowa

Coronary CT Angiography

What is Coronary Angiography CCTA?

Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA) is a detailed exam that uses x-rays to view blood vessel anatomy while injecting an intravenous ( IV ) contrast solution into a vein in your arm. Blood flow may be visualized and analyzed throughout the body -from arteries serving the brain to those bringing blood to the lungs, kidneys, legs and HEART.   The Computed Tomography (CT) scanner is a special x-ray machine, which uses computer techniques to produce images of your body.  The CT scanner is shaped like a doughnut.  To obtain these images the x-ray machine moves around your body while you lie on the table.

What is IV (intravenous) contrast?

IV contrast is a iodine solution that is injected into your veins and appears bright on the CT images. This solution outlines the organs or vessels included in the scan.  When the IV contrast is injected into the vein you may experience a sensation of warmth for 1 to 2 minutes.  The IV contrast is then filtered from your blood by your kidneys and will be passed unnoticed.

What do I need to do to prepare for Coronary CTA?

You will be asked to not eat or drink four hours EXCEPT water prior to the Coronary CTA exam. Please notify your physician of you have an iodine allergy or previous allergic reaction to the intravenous (IV) contrast solution used in x-ray.
You may be requested to obtain a blood test called BUN and Creatinine prior to the exam. Your requesting physician will schedule this test if needed.
You may take your regular medications the morning of the test with sips of water.

You must AVOID CAFFEINE products (i.e. Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Excedrin, decaf coffee, decaf tea) 24 hours prior to your Coronary CTA .You must not take Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis 24 hours prior to the Cardiac CTA.

What should I expect when I arrive at the hospital?

Please register for your exam at the Imaging Services Department (Radiology) located on the 1st floor of the hospital.

What will I experience during my CT scan?

The Nursing staff will greet you and prepare you for the scan by reviewing your history and starting your IV.  Oral medications may be used to achieve the desired heart rate while you are here.  If the oral medications are used to achieve the targeted heart rate you will be waiting approximately an hour before your scan may be completed.  The CT technologist will bring you into the CT suite after your heart has reached the desired heart rate and will explain the next part of the procedure to you and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the scan. During the IV consent process your allergies and diabetic medications will be noted. If you are diabetic please bring a list of your medications with you.  The scan may take approximately 30 minutes.  During the scan you will be asked to lie very still on the table as the x-ray machine moves around you. The CT technologist will be able to watch you during the entire exam from behind the window and talk to you on the microphone.  Please let us know what we can do to keep you comfortable.  During your visit to Mercy Medical Center we want to provide you with excellent care and will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

What can I expect after the exam?

Resume your normal activities.  Drink extra fluid over the next 12 hours and if you have any additional questions please call us at 641 428 7200 and ask for the radiology nursing staff.

How will I get my results?

You will receive your results from your ordering physician.  You may receive a letter, a phone call, or have a follow up appointment with your physician.  If you are unsure of how you will receive your results, please contact your physician's office.