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Home > Medical Services > Heart & Vascular > Tests & Diagnosis > CT Coronary Angiography
Ultrafast computed tomography (CTA) is a non-invasive imaging technique used to create three-dimensional pictures of your beating heart. The electron-beam CT uses a scanning electron beam that can take very rapid pictures of the heart, timed to coordinate with your heart beat. This speed allows the cardiologist to actually see the working heart, and to measure the size and volume of the right and left ventricles, the muscle mass in the left ventricle, and the status of the coronary arteries.
Coronary CTA is used to detect the earliest of heart artery narrowings, before symptoms occur. The scan is sensitive enough to identify the early stages of coronary plaque formation.
Ultrafast CT scans are also being used to rapidly diagnose other cardiac related conditions, including aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism, restenosis after angioplasty, and the effectiveness of heart surgery or medical therapy. Additionally, ultrafast CT scanning is valuable in an emergency room setting because of its speed.
Studies have shown that these tests may be of some value in predicting future risk for heart attack, especially when combined with other markers of cardiac risk such as the Framingham coronary risk profile. Evidence for early coronary plaque might lead a physician to recommend additional testing, such as a nuclear stress test, coronary angiography, or exercise stress test.
Because the test involves radiation exposure, women who are or may be pregnant should not have the test done.