Coronary CTA Preparations

New Jersey Heart Disease Screening

If you are scheduled for a Coronary CTA, rest assured you are about to receive one of the most effective tools currently available in medical technology to detect heart disease and assess risk of heart attack and stroke.

Coronary CTAs involve the use of a CT scan. If you have received a CT scan before, you can expect a similar experience here. One thing that may be different is the injection of a contrast into your veins so that blood flow will show up more clearly in the images produced.

The Day of Your Procedure

  • Do not bring any valuables with you.
  • Remember to bring your medication list.
  • You will need your insurance information, a form of ID, and any completed paperwork that you may have been given to complete.
  • Please arrive 60 minutes prior to your scheduled time.

Preparing For Your Procedure

Our clinical staff will need to know:

  • All medications, herbs, or supplements you take. Please bring a complete list of your medications on the day of your study.
  • Any allergies, including medications or foods, and the specific reactions you have to each item.
  • Any previous IV contrast (x-ray dye) you have had. Did you ever have any problems / issues?
  • Advise us if you have asthma, wheezing, or any breathing problems, or have any problem with your kidney function.
  • Let us know if you are or may be pregnant or if you are currently breastfeeding.
  • If you take Viagra, Cialis or similar medications please inform us. You must stop this medication 48 hours prior to your procedure, providing your physician approves this interruption in therapy.
  • 12 hours prior to your CCTA, discontinue taking any diet pills and caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, energy drinks or sodas. These may increase heart rate and limit the ability of the exam to evaluate for plaque in the coronary arteries.
  • Please drink 16 ounces of water before your arrival. Arrive 1 hour prior to your procedure time.
  • Depending on your heart rate on the day of your study, you may be given medication to optimize the images taken your CCTA. This will result in additional time at our facility. It is best to prepare to be at AMI for between 1 and 3 hours.

How The Procedure Is Performed

  1. You will be given a gown to wear during the procedure.
  2. A nurse will assess your heart rate and blood pressure as well as review your medical history and medications you are presently taking. You may be given a beta blocker orally to help slow your heart rate if needed and then reassessed in 1 hour. Once your heart rate is controlled you will be ready for the CCTA scan.
  3. An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into a vein in your arm to administer contrast material (dye) during your procedure.
  4. The technologist or nurse will clean three small areas of your chest and place electrodes (small, sticky discs) on these areas. Men may require a small area of hair to be shaved on their chest to help the electrodes stick. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor, which shows your heart’s electrical activity during the test.
  5. While lying on the scanning table, you may be asked to raise your arms over your head for the duration of the exam. This will help improve image quality.
  6. Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Then, the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed. Depending on the type of CT scan, the machine may make several passes.
  7. You will be asked to hold your breath during the scanning. Any motion, whether breathing or body movements, can lead to artifacts on the images. This loss of image quality can resemble the blurring seen on a photograph taken of a moving object.
  8. When the examination is completed, you may be asked to wait until the technologist verifies that the images are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation.
  9. Your intravenous line will be removed.
  10. You need to increase your water intake over the hours following your exam. This will help your body rid itself of the contrast that had been injected.

The clinical staff will make every effort to keep you informed throughout your procedure, however please feel free to ask if you have any questions or concerns.

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