CT or CAT scans are special x-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using x-rays and a computer.
Computed tomography angiography or CTA is a computed tomography technique used to visualize arterial and venous vessels throughout the body. This ranges from arteries serving the brain to those bringing blood to the lungs, kidneys, arms, and legs.
Cardiovascular Computed Tomographic Angiography (CTA) is an emerging non-invasive, fast, and reliable study for evaluation of the heart, coronary arteries, and pulmonary veins. High resolution images acquired during diastole significantly reduces motion artifact seen with conventional CT which may obscure underlying pathology.
Benefits of cardiac CTA
Non-invasive: compared to cardiac catheterization, cardiac CTA only requires an IV, not femoral access or the passage of wires and catheters into the aorta and coronary arteries, thereby eliminating the risk of iatrogenic vascular injury, stroke, and myocardial infarction.
Less contrast volume: cardiac CTA uses, on average, 50% less contrast than cardiac catheterization, which reduces the likelihood of nephrotoxicity.
Fast: a cardiac CTA exam can be performed in a few seconds.
High sensitivity: cardiac CTA has both high spatial and temporal resolution which allows for the accurate detection of both calcified and non-calcified ("soft") atherosclerotic plaques. National statistics indicate that approximately 1 out of every 3 patients who undergo cardiac catheterization do not have disease requiring intervention. The high negative predictive value of CTA allows more efficient triage and resource allocation and minimizes unnecessary procedures.