Coronary CTA (Computed Tomographic Angiography) is a non-invasive heart imaging test used to ascertain the presence of fatty or calcium deposits in coronary arteries.

Diagnosing Coronary Artery Disease: A Comparative Look

1. Coronary Angiography (CAG)

  • Pros:
    • Acknowledged as the gold standard for detecting blocked coronary arteries, offering unparalleled accuracy.
    • Enables immediate treatment like balloon angioplasty or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
  • Cons:
    • Involves some risk due to the insertion of a catheter into a patient’s arm, wrist, or groin.
    • Comparatively expensive.
    • Patients need hospitalisation for a duration ranging from 4-24 hours post-procedure.

2. Coronary Computed Tomographic Angiography (Coronary CTA)

  • Overview: The evolution of CT technology over recent years now facilitates high-resolution images of intricate organs like the heart. A Coronary CTA scan necessitates the use of an iodine-rich contrast dye to capture the most vivid images. The scan typically takes about 10 minutes.
  • Pros:
    • Swift procedure with the MDCT (Multi-Detector Computerised Tomography).
    • No mandatory hospital stay post-procedure.
    • Over 90% accuracy in diagnosing coronary artery disease.
  • Cons:
    • 1-2 hours are needed for post-scan image processing.
    • Certain prerequisites, like a steady heart rate and the ability to hold one's breath for approximately 10 seconds during each scan,

Who Is a Candidate for MDCT?

Individuals ideal for an MDCT include:

  • Those with risk factors like hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, a smoking habit, or a family history of coronary artery disease.
  • Those with potential coronary artery disease symptoms or inconclusive results from other tests.
  • Those treated previously for coronary artery disease who need assessment for subsequent treatment.

MDCT Examination Preparation

To prep for an MDCT scan, patients should abstain from food for at least four hours. They should also avoid stimulants like tea, coffee, and certain medications.

Contraindications for MDCT Examination

Pregnant individuals or those suspecting pregnancy should not undergo MDCT. Since the test involves injecting a contrast medium into veins, it's not advisable for patients with severe asthma, certain renal diseases, or a history of severe allergy to seafood or x-ray examination contrast mediums.

Potential Risks and Post-Examination Care

  • Patients may experience rare side effects from the contrast medium, such as rashes, hives, or respiratory symptoms.
  • The radiation exposure from this test is equivalent to natural radiation over two to three years.
  • After the examination, patients should hydrate to expedite the removal of the contrast medium via urine.