CT Coronary Angiography
CT coronary angiography is a test generally performed to evaluate the degree of narrowing or blockage of the heart vessels. It is an alternative to more invasive technique called catheter angiography in which a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel. The doctor may also request this study to evaluate potentially dangerous congenital coronary abnormalities, abnormal connections involving the coronary arteries and evaluation of bypass grafts. The study is usually ordered by cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, or primary care physicians. The procedures images the heart while it is in motion, so the patient may be prescribed medication to slow the heart rate, for three days prior to the procedure and counsel avoidance of products that can increase heart rate. Patients will fast four hours prior to the exam. Before the procedure, patients may be given additional medication to slow the heart rate further. In addition, contrast dye will be injected into an arm to allow for a clearer image. A breath hold of about 10 to 15 seconds is desired for an optimum study. The test takes only a few minutes. Someone will need to drive the patient home afterwards.
As part of a leading academic medical center, UAB Radiology oversees or participates in clinical trials that may provide new opportunities for low-dose drugs, more effective tests, and other new techniques and treatments that are not available elsewhere in the area. The extensive experience and expertise of our radiologists and technologists help ensure that the most accurate and in-depth testing is used in evaluating and treating your condition. We use the latest interventional devices and most advanced imaging techniques, including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, sonogram, and CT (computed tomography) scans. We perform an average of 7,600 CT scans and 3,600 sonograms each month, all while making your comfort and convenience our top priority. Our efficient, attentive staff and the availability of multiple imaging units will help your radiology visit go smoothly.
As a large teaching hospital, UAB Medicine is on the forefront of imaging equipment, and we frequently play a role in improving traditional and emerging imaging technologies, including some designed to reduce radiation exposure during tests. One example is the GE Healthcare CT 750 HD CT scanner, which is used at the UAB Radiology clinic to obtain high-definition images while reducing patients’ radiation exposure.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
UAB Hospital first in Alabama to offer first-of-its-kind dissolving heart stent
The interventional cardiology team at UAB Hospital recently added to its longstanding reputation as a pioneer in the development and implementation of stents by becoming the first in Alabama to offer patients with coronary artery disease a new treatment option that disappears over time.
On July 20, Massoud Leesar, M.D., a professor in UAB’s Division of Cardiovascular Disease, implanted a patient with the world’s first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent for the first time in Alabama. The Absorb bioresorbable vascular coronary stent is a major advance in the treatment of coronary heart disease, which is responsible for about 370,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This type of stent has been in the making for nearly 15 years.
While stents are traditionally made of metal, the Absorb stent is made of a naturally dissolving material called polylactide, similar to dissolving stitches or sutures.
“Since the Absorb stent gradually dissolves, this may be a safer long-term option for patients because metal stents can clot and occlude the artery,” Leesar said.
The stent is placed into the artery on a balloon at the end of a thin flexible tube, much like the procedure used to place bare metal and drug eluting coronary stents. It is then expanded by inflating the balloon that pushes the plaque against the artery wall to enable greater blood flow. The balloon is removed, leaving the Absorb stent to slowly release medication to the diseased area. With blood flow restored, the stent begins dissolving.
After Absorb dissolves, it allows the artery to pulse and flex naturally. It may also reduce the risk of future blockages that occur with metallic stents, and makes it easier for doctors to offer additional interventions in the future if necessary. During the dissolving period, Absorb metabolizes into water and carbon dioxide, two elements that occur naturally in the body. All that remain in the artery are two pairs of tiny metallic markers that enable a physician to see where the device was placed. After three years, the device is completely dissolved and the vessel can remain open and pulsate on its own.
Calvin Burnett of Albertville, Alabama, is the first patient in the state to receive the new Absorb stent. After Burnett was diagnosed with rectal cancer in September 2015, his oncologist recommended he see a cardiologist at UAB following complaints of tightness in his chest.
“I’ve always been kind of physically active, so this kind of threw me for a loop,” Burnett said.
Two days after his stress test, an Absorb stent was placed. Burnett says he is grateful that medicine has come so far.
“I think this is such a great thing,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back to riding horses.”
Burnett says he could not imagine having his procedure done anywhere other than at UAB.
To ensure optimal patient selection and implant technique, UAB’s interventional cardiology team underwent extensive training on the new device.
“One of the advantages of this new stent is that the risk of a metal stent’s suddenly clotting is a major issue long-term,” Leesar said. “Since the new stent dissolves over time, this risk can be eliminated, and the vessel has the potential to be open more than to before with the stent.”
Currently, patients who receive the new dissolving stent will have to meet certain criteria. Leesar suggests patients talk with their cardiologists to see if they meet those criteria, and to learn more about the Absorb stent and its capabilities.
Source: UAB News