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.

The diagnostic and therapeutic services provided by UAB Radiology play an important role in the comprehensive care delivered at UAB, and Radiology works with every department within UAB Medicine. Our radiology and interventional radiology physicians are national leaders in their field and widely published in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. They are actively involved in testing and teaching for new techniques and equipment, and they partner with your other physicians to deliver care. UAB Radiology team members are committed to safety and use the American College of Radiology guidelines for dosage and safety procedures. UAB Interventional Radiology’s new ambulatory clinic – located within The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital – provides patients with enhanced pre-procedure evaluations, follow-up services, and more comprehensive care for complex conditions.

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.

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