CT Angiography

Computed tomography angiography (CTA) is an examination that uses x-rays to visualize blood flow in blood vessels throughout the body, from arteries serving the brain to those bringing blood to the lungs, kidneys, and arms and legs. CT combines the use of x-rays with computerized analysis of the images. Beams of x-rays are passed from a rotating device through the area of interest in the patient's body from several different angles to create cross-sectional images, which then are assembled by computer into a three-dimensional picture of the area being studied. Compared to catheter angiography, which involves placing a catheter and injecting contrast material into an artery or vein, CTA is a less invasive and more patient-friendly procedure; contrast material is injected into a small peripheral vein by using a small needle or catheter. This type of exam has been used to screen large numbers of individuals for arterial disease. Most patients undergo CT angiography without being admitted to a hospital.

CTA is also used to detect narrowing or obstruction of arteries in the chest, abdomen, pelvis, arms, legs and in the carotid arteries,which bring blood from the heart to the brain. When a stent has been placed to restore blood flow in a diseased artery, CTA will show whether it is serving its purpose.

Examining arteries in the brain may help reach a correct diagnosis in patients who complain of headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears or fainting. Injured patients may benefit from CTA if there is a possibility that one or more arteries have been damaged. In patients with a tumor, it may be helpful for the surgeon to know the details of arteries feeding the growth.

For more information on the procedure visit radiologyinfo.org (CT Angiography).