Heart Vision

FAQ for Doctors

Are there any medical conditions that preclude patients from having CT Coronary Angiography?

CT coronary angiography should not be performed on patients who are or might be pregnant. Patients with pacemakers, defibrillators and arrhythmias may also be unsuitable. CT coronary angiography does require administration of intravenous contrast so is contraindicated without further discussion in patients with chronic renal insufficiency (a current creatinine level is required for all patients) or contrast allergy.


What preparation is required?

Doctors need to check Patients kidney function with a blood test.

Patients are asked to withhold Cialis, Viagra and Levitra for 36hrs prior to the scan, and not to take drinks containing caffeine or alcohol on the day of the scan. Prior to the scan patients will be asked to read and sign an information and consent form.


How is the scan performed?

A CT coronary angiogram is an ECG gated contrast enhanced CT scan through the heart. Patients will be asked to lie on the scanner table. ECG leads will be attached to their chest and intravenous access will be obtained (usually via an antecubital fossa vein) for contrast injection. Immediately prior to the coronary scan patients may be given sublingual nitroglycerine. Patients will need to be able to hold their breath for up to 15 seconds while the coronary scan is acquired. 

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What are the risks?

There is a small risk of side effects and complications related to intravenous contrast administration including contrast allergy. Allergic reactions are usually mild (such as itch or a rash). Rarely severe reactions occur (less than 1 in 10,000).

CT coronary angiography exposes the patient to ionising radiation. The effective dose on the Siemens Definition scanner used is in the range of 5 to 15 mSv. This is in comparison to the effective dose from a Chest x-ray of 0.1 mSv, conventional diagnostic coronary angiography of 2 to 3 mSv, and annual natural background radiation of about 2 mSv. The risk of cancer from exposure to 1 mSv of radiation is about 1 in 17 000. This compares to a natural incidence of cancer of about 57 in 17 000 (1 in 298).

In a small proportion of patients CT coronary angiography does not provide satisfactory images, and further investigations may be required.

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How much does the examination cost?

Private (Insured)

Please contact your Private Health Insurer before attending for the examination. Cost to the patient varies depending on Referrer, Health Insurer and individual Policies.

Private (Uninsured)

CT Calcium score (CACS)      $ 626.00 (GST inclusive)
CT Coronary Angiography (CCTA)  $2205.00 (GST inclusive)

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How long before the scan results are available?

The images acquired as part of a CT coronary angiogram include the equivalent of a limited range CT chest. A CT chest report will be issued on the day of the scan. Analysing the coronary artery images using a dedicated workstation and software (Circulation) is more time consuming and as a result, a final report including the angiogram report will be issued separately once the analysis is completed. This will be 1-2 weeks.

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Important note regarding incidental findings:

Non-cardiac incidental findings are detected in 25%-60% of coronary angiogram scans, with pulmonary nodules being amongst the most common. All patients should be aware that further investigation and follow-up of incidental findings might be required.

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