Coronary CT

What is a Coronary CT?
A dramatic breakthrough in Heart Attack Prevention!

You could spend a lifetime worrying about your heart.  Or in a few minutes find out if you really have a problem that needs to be addressed. The most effective treatment for heart disease is prevention. The earlier the warning signs of heart disease can be detected, the sooner you can begin reducing your risk. But for many people, there are no warning signs. For example, half of the people who suffer heart attacks have normal levels of cholesterol. Others do not even have high blood pressure. For over 150,000 Americans a year, the very first sign of coronary artery disease is sudden death.

Hemet and San Jacinto’s Most Advanced Heart Scanning Technology
A remarkable technology called Coronary CT Angiography (CTA) can provide the earliest possible evidence of developing coronary artery disease, the condition that leads to heart attacks. Coronary CTA can also provide the reassurance of knowing that your healthy lifestyle is helping to prevent one.

A Coronary CTA scan can discover signs of heart disease that would be invisible in EKGs, stress testing, calcium scoring and even cardiac catheterization. Unlike calcium scoring, coronary CTA can identify what is known as "vulnerable plaque," the type of arterial plaque most likely to develop into a life-threatening blockage.

Coronary CTA provides much of the information that traditional cardiac catheterization does but because of its unique ability to see the wall of the artery, it provides important information that can be invisible on catheterization. Because Coronary CTA uses CT scanning instead of catheterization, it’s safer, painless, and non-invasive. The scan itself is completed in less than a minute. Coronary CTA is a procedure so advanced, only a handful of practices in the area have the experience, expertise, and technology to provide it. Fortunately, one of them is at Hemet Valley Imaging.

Heart Disease: Know Your Risks
Should you be concerned? If you have one or more of these risk factors, you should talk with your physician:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Overweight
  • High stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle (little or no exercise)

And remember, heart disease affects both men and women. While men are more susceptible at an earlier age, a woman’s risk of having a heart attack rises sharply after menopause

Coronary CTA Facts

Why do I need IV contrast?
Contrast is injected through a vein in your arm and shows up as bright on a CT image. It helps our radiologists identify and characterize atherosclerotic disease (also called plaque or hardening of the arteries). It is so useful that it is always utilized.

Will I be allergic to the contrast?
A small percentage of patients will have an allergic reaction to iodinated contrast (which is used in IVPs). Patients should alert their doctors if they have had an allergic reaction to contrast in the past. If they have had a prior allergic reaction they may be given medication to prevent a repeat reaction. If a patient has an allergic reaction during the exam our radiologists are prepared to deal with these situations.

How long will this take?
The average length of time is around fifteen minutes. Of course, the test is not initiated until your heart rate is in the acceptable range, usually below 70 beats per minute.

Coronary CTA Preparations

Before the study
Do not consume any form of caffeine 12 hours prior to the study.

Do not eat any solid foods 4 hours prior to the study.

Drink two 8 ounce glasses of water 1 hour before study.

You may be given 50 mg. of Metoprolol (Lopressor) orally prior to the study based on your heart rate.  

During the study
You will have contrast (“x-ray dye”) for this study. A needle will be placed in your left arm, around the elbow area.

You will have a 3 lead EKG attached to monitor your heart rate.

After the study
Be sure to eat and drink plenty of fluid after the study.

When will my physician get the results?
A HVI radiologist will call your doctor following completion of your examination if the results are urgent.  Otherwise, our reports are usually available within 24 hours of completion of the examination, and are generally received by your physician within that same 24 hour period. A report may be delayed if we are awaiting studies from an outside facility for comparison purposes.