CT Angiography

Computerized Tomographic Angiography (CTA)

Computerized Tomographic Angiography (CTA) shows clarity of blood vessels, differentiation between arteries and veins, and, unlike MRA imaging, CTA can capture evidence of calcium deposits. This pioneering technology replaces often-inaccurate stress testing and potentially dangerous catheterization.

What is CT Angiography?

CT Angiography, or CTA, is an examination that combines the use of x-rays with computerized analysis to visualize blood flow in blood vessels throughout the body, from arteries serving the brain to those bringing blood to the lungs, kidneys, arms and legs. From several different angles, x-ray beams pass from a rotating device through the area being studied in the patient’s body to create cross-sectional images. The latter are then assembled by computer into a 3D picture.

CTA is commonly used to:

  • Examine the pulmonary arteries in the lungs to rule out pulmonary embolism: a serious but treatable condition
  • Visualize blood flow in veins and arteries throughout the body
  • Visualize blood flow specifically in the renal arteries in patients with high blood pressure and those suspected of having kidney disorders
  • Identify aneurysms in the aorta or in other major blood vessels and identify dissection in the aorta or its major branches
  • Identify a small aneurysm or arterio-venous malformation inside the brain that may be life-threatening
  • Detect atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs
  • Detect narrowing or obstruction of arteries in the carotid arteries bringing blood from the heart to the brain


  • You must come in to pick up a prep kit at least one (1) day before your exam date.
  • On the day of your exam, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
  • Avoid clothing with zippers and snaps as metal objects can affect the image
  • You may be asked to not eat or drink anything for one or more hours before the exam
  • Inform your doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you may be pregnant

What can I expect during this procedure?

A CTA scan is a quick, painless procedure. Plan on being with us for a minimum of 30 minutes. The technologist positions you on the CT table. The table moves slowly into the CT scanner opening. The increments of movement may be minimal and almost undetectable, or large enough to feel the motion.  You are unaccompanied in the room during your scan, however, your technologist can see, hear and speak with you at all times.

To enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels, use of contrast material is required. Contrast material is injected through an IV. Before the contrast material is administered, you should inform the technologist if you have:

  • Any allergies, especially to medications or iodine
  • A history of diabetes, asthma, kidney problems, heart or thyroid conditions. These conditions may indicate a higher risk of reaction to the contrast material or potential problems with eliminating the material from your system after the exam

To determine if more images are needed, you may be asked to wait until the images are reviewed.


You might feel:

  • Flushed or have a metallic taste in your mouth. These are common side effects to the contrast material that disappear in a minute or two
  • A warm sensation that extends to your bladder


After a CT scan with contrast, the technologist will remove the intravenous line. You may resume your normal activities. A full report will be sent to your referring physician in approximately 48 hours following your exam.


For more information on this topic, please visit Radiologyinfo.org/CT Angiography