Locations across Queensland within Queensland Cardiovascular Group

Phone (07) 3016 1111

Diagnostic Tests:
CT Coronary Angiogram

ct coronary angiogram

What is CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA)?

A CT Coronary Angiogram  is the most sensitive non-invasive test for detecting Coronary Artery Disease, using an X-ray technique Computed Tomography (CT) to look at blood vessels that supply the heart muscle, or “coronary arteries”.

A CTCA is a quick and effective way for your doctor see whether or not plaque has developed in the coronary arteries that may result in blockages, potentially causing symptoms or increasing your risk of heart attack. It is especially useful to decide whether or not the coronary arteries could be the cause of symptoms such as current chest discomfort or shortness of breath.

Click here to learn about our other cardiac diagnostic tests

Benefits of CTCA at the AFib Institute

QCG has a premium CT Scanner that uses more advanced technology than most on the market. This allows CTCA at QCG to be performed for the lowest possible radiation dose – one of the lowest in Queensland – significantly lower than other tests and other CT sites.

Our CT scanner is located within our Spring Hill, Brisbane rooms, making it easier for you to see one of our Cardiologists at the same location and on the same day as your scan.

Scans are supervised and reported by Cardiologists who are leading experts in their field and who have trained specifically in multimodality cardiac imaging.

ct coronary angiogram

How do I Prepare?

Pre-appointment Preparation

Please review this preparation checklist:

  1. No Caffeine
    In order to keep your heart rate low, it is important that you do not consume any stimulants or products containing caffeine for at least 4 hours prior to your CT. This includes coffee, tea (including herbal tea), chocolate, soft drinks and energy drinks.
  2. Fasting (but hydrating)
    You are required to fast for 2 hours prior to your CT, however, you should continue to drink water and stay well hydrated.
  3. Check your Medications
    Do not take any medication for erectile dysfunction for 72 hours prior to your CT. This includes brands such as Viagra, Sildenafil, Cialis, Levitra. These medications can have an interaction with the medication used during the CT. If you are unsure, please check with us or your GP.
    Do continue to take all of your other normal medication on the day of the scan, unless you have been advised otherwise.
  4. No Exercise
    Do not exercise or perform strenuous activity for 2 hours prior to your CT.
  5. Inform our Staff of your Medical Conditions
    Please advise our staff when making your appointment if you are pregnant, have a pacemaker, coronary artery bypass grafts, an irregular heart rhythm, or have had an allergic reaction to contrast agents (dye) in the past.
    Please ensure you have had a blood test to check your kidney function in the 6 months prior to your CT. If you require a blood test, we can organize a pathology request form or you can contact your GP.

Prior to the Scan

You can expect the following to happen before your procedure:

  1. Answer questions about your medical history (the problems or symptoms that led you to being referred for the test by your GP or specialist).
  2. Change into a gown and have an ECG to check your heart rate, and have your blood pressure taken. The Cardiologist will review the results of your ECG and your blood pressure. CT images are clearer if your heart rate is slow, so you might be given some oral medication such as a Beta-blocker (Atenolol, Metoprolol) or Ivabradine before the test to ensure a low and regular heart rate.
  3. You will have an intravenous (IV) cannula inserted into one of your veins, usually on the front of your elbow at the skin crease, and ECG leads placed on your chest.
  4. You will then be taken into the CT scanner room.

What Should I Expect? (During the Scan)

  1. You will lie on a bed and a medication Nitroglycerin (GTN) will be sprayed under your tongue in order to expand and relax your coronary arteries, helping us to obtain the best images possible. This can sometimes cause a temporary headache or mild light-headedness.
  2. You will be given a rapid IV injection of Iodine contrast agent through the cannula. This is often referred to as X-ray ‘dye’, but it is a clear and colourless fluid. You may notice a warm sensation and a metallic taste in your mouth during the contrast injection. This is normal. When the Iodine contrast reaches the heart through the veins, the scan is started.
  3. You will hear the large CT machine rotating around you, and the bed will slide in and out of the scanner while images of your heart are taken. Only your chest will be in the scanner, your head and legs will remain free during the test. It is important to lie still and not move during the scan, as it will affect the quality of the images.
  4. For some scans, you may be asked to hold your breath for up to 15 seconds while images are taken.
  5. The images are analysed by a Cardiologist and the CT technicians who carry out the scan using complex computer programs. Information can be obtained about coronary artery blockages, heart muscle changes, the inside of the four heart chambers, the valves, the membranes that surround the heart (the pericardium) and the rest of the chest outside the heart if it is included in the scan.
  6. Once all the images have been taken (around 20 minutes), you will be taken to a recovery area for observation and the IV cannula will be removed before you are allowed to go home. If you have had medication to lower your heart rate, you might be asked to stay until the effects have worn off. You will be fine to drive after this time.

CT Coronary Angiogram Results

Most tests are reported and forwarded to the referring doctor electronically within 48 hours. The time that it takes your referring doctor to receive a written report on the test or procedure can vary, depending on:

  • the urgency with which the result is needed;
  • the complexity of the examination;
  • whether more information is needed from your doctor before the examination can be interpreted by the cardiologist;
  • whether you have had previous X-rays or other medical imaging that need to be compared with this new test or procedure (this is commonly the case if you have a disease or condition that is being followed to assess your progress).

Please feel free to ask when your referring doctor is likely to have the written report. It is important that you discuss the results with your referring doctor so that they can explain what the results mean for you and if any follow-up treatment or testing is required.

Learn about our Other Cardiac Diagnostic Tests

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Holter Monitor
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Event Monitor
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Implanted Cardiac Monitor
transoesophageal echocardiography
Transoesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE)
exercise stress test
Exercise Stress Test
ct coronary angiogram
CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA)
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CTCA Calcium Score
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Dobutamine Stress Echo
exercise stress echocardiography
Exercise Stress Echocardiography
24 hour blood pressure monitor
24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitor