A Coronary CTA is a heart-imaging test for non-invasively determining whether either fatty deposits or calcium deposits have built up in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. We 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. If left untreated, these areas of build-up called plaques can cause heart muscle disease which, in turn, can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and/or heart attack.
If you schedule an appointment with our team, here is what you can expect:
A Coronary CTA comes from a special type of X-ray examination. Patients undergoing a Coronary CTA scan receive an iodine-containing contrast dye as an IV solution to ensure the best images possible. The same IV in the arm may be used to give a medication to slow or stabilize the patient’s heart rate for better imaging results. During the examination, x-rays pass through the body and are picked up by special detectors in the scanner. At Jupiter Medical Center we utilize the GE Light Speed VCT 64-slice CT scanner.
This multi-detector system delivers a comprehensive view of the heart and coronary arteries within five seconds (or five beats of the heart); essentially quadrupling the number of available thin slices over previous systems. Because of the speed of the system, it dramatically reduces artifacts due to patient motion and opens new diagnostic possibilities for the clinician.
The information collected during the Coronary CTA examination is used to identify the coronary arteries and, if present, plaques in their walls by creating 3D images on a computer screen. Though the exam typically takes approximately ten minutes, the actual scan time is only eight to ten seconds.
This screening is not covered by insurance. Cost is $399, and includes the radiologist’s interpretation.
To find out if you are at risk, click here.
*Please note that a physician order may be required for this screening. However, we are happy to facilitate this if necessary.