A Computerized Tomography (CT) Coronary Angiogram is a diagnostic imaging test designed to examine the arteries responsible for supplying blood to the heart. This noninvasive procedure utilizes a potent X-ray machine to generate detailed images of the heart and its blood vessels, aiding in the diagnosis of various heart conditions.

Key Points:

  1. Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis: The central objective of a CT Coronary Angiogram is to detect and evaluate narrowed or blocked arteries in the heart, a condition known as coronary artery disease.
  2. Versatility in Heart Conditions: Beyond coronary artery disease, the test can be used to investigate and diagnose a range of other heart conditions, providing a comprehensive assessment of cardiac health.
  3. Distinguishing from Standard Angiogram: A CT Coronary Angiogram distinguishes itself from a standard coronary angiogram. In the traditional non-CT procedure, a flexible tube (catheter) is threaded through the groin or arm to reach the heart or coronary arteries. While this approach is effective and can be therapeutic for known coronary artery disease, the CT version offers a noninvasive alternative.
  4. Noninvasive Nature:Angiogram: Unlike the traditional coronary angiogram, the CT variant is noninvasive, meaning it doesn't involve the insertion of a catheter through the groin or arm. This feature enhances patient comfort and eliminates the need for recovery time associated with invasive procedures.
  5. Treatment Considerations: In cases where coronary artery disease is already known, the traditional coronary angiogram can serve a dual purpose, acting as both a diagnostic tool and a method of treatment.

In summary, a CT Coronary Angiogram is primarily performed to diagnose coronary artery disease by assessing the condition of heart arteries. Its versatility extends to the evaluation of various other heart conditions, and its noninvasive nature distinguishes it from the traditional coronary angiogram, which involves catheter insertion.

Why it's done:

  1. Coronary Artery Disease Focus: A CT Coronary Angiogram is primarily utilized to identify narrowed or blocked arteries, especially in the context of coronary artery disease.
  2. Versatile Heart Condition Diagnosis: While central to coronary artery disease diagnosis, the test is also adept at investigating a range of other heart conditions, offering a comprehensive cardiac assessment.
  3. Contrast with Standard Angiogram: Unlike a standard coronary angiogram involving a catheter threaded through the groin or arm, the CT version is noninvasive, enhancing patient comfort and eliminating recovery time.
  4. Noninvasive Advantage: The noninvasive nature of the CT Coronary Angiogram sets it apart, avoiding catheter insertion and offering a more convenient alternative for patients.
  5. Dual Role in Treatment: In cases where coronary artery disease is known, the traditional angiogram can serve both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.


  1. Radiation Exposure: A CT coronary angiogram involves exposure to radiation, with the level varying based on the machine used. Pregnant women are advised against the procedure due to potential harm to the unborn child.
  2. Contrast Dye Allergy: Contrast dye may be used, and some individuals may experience allergic reactions. Those concerned about such reactions can discuss the issue with their healthcare provider. In cases of a contrast dye allergy, steroid medication may be administered before the procedure to reduce the risk of a reaction.

How to Prepare:

  1. Instructions from Healthcare Provider: Follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider to prepare for the CT coronary angiogram. Typically, driving to and from the test is acceptable.
  2. Food and Medication Restrictions: Usually, fasting for about four hours before the test is required, with the exception of water. Caffeinated beverages should be avoided 12 hours before the test to prevent an increase in heart rate, which could affect image clarity.
  3. Medication Information: Inform your healthcare provider about your medications, as you may be asked to refrain from taking certain medications before the test.
  4. Clothing and Personal Items: Prepare to remove jewelry, glasses, and clothing above the waist. Changing into a hospital gown is customary.

What to Expect:

  1. Location and Setting: The CT coronary angiogram is typically conducted in the radiology department of a hospital or outpatient imaging facility.
  2. Before the Procedure: You may be given a beta blocker to slow your heart rate for clearer images. Nitroglycerin might also be administered to dilate your coronary arteries.
  3. During the Procedure: An IV is inserted for contrast dye, electrodes record your heart rate, and you'll lie on a table that slides into a CT scanner. Breath-holding and remaining still are essential during the scan.
  4. Procedure Duration: While the scan itself may take seconds, the overall process may last up to an hour.
  5. After the Procedure: After completion, you can resume normal activities, including driving. Drinking water is recommended to flush the dye from your body.


  1. Timely Results: CT coronary angiogram images are typically available shortly after the test, and your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you.
  2. Treatment Discussions: If heart disease is suggested, you and your provider can explore treatment options.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • - Exercise Regularly: Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly, with your healthcare provider's approval.
  • - Healthy Eating: Adopt a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while minimizing saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
  • - Quit Smoking: Smoking cessation is crucial for reducing heart disease risk. Seek guidance from your healthcare provider for support.
  • - Manage Health Conditions: Manage Health Conditions: Adhere to medication regimens for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, and attend follow-up visits as recommended.
  • - Stress Management: Reduce stress through exercise, mindfulness, and connecting with support groups to mitigate the risk of heart attacks.