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Waitematā DHB Cardiology Services

Public Service, Cardiology

CT Coronary Angiography (CTCA)

CTCA is a CT scan of the arteries of the heart.  By injecting contrast dye into a line in your arm, the scan can provide high definition, 3 dimensional images of your arteries.  It is one of the best ways to detect signs of coronary atherosclerosis, (narrowing of the arteries), from plaques developing in the walls of the artery.  Coronary atherosclerosis may cause angina or a heart attack. 

For this test you will require an IV line in your arm.  Your heart rate will need to be less that 60 beats per minute so good images can be obtained.  You may require Beta Blocker medication to reduce your heart rate if necessary.  GTN spray is given so the arteries are more easily seen. 

Outpatient CTCA appointments can take up to 4 hours.  The actual scanning time is only 5 minutes but the preparation and recovery period can take time.  You can eat your usual meal prior to the appointment but should reduce your caffeine intake for the 24 hours prior to your appointment time.  

After the scan you will remain in radiology for at least 30 minutes to make sure you haven’t had any reaction to the contrast dye.  You will be encouraged to drink at least 6 cups of water over the rest of the day.  Alcohol should be avoided on the day of the scan.

This page was last updated at 12:54PM on September 20, 2021.