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. CT coronary angiography does require administration of intravenous contrast so is contraindicated without further discussion in patients with chronic renal insufficiency (a current GFR level is required for patients with known renal impairment or diabetes) or contrast allergy.


What preparation is required?

A recent GFR is required for patients with known renal impairment or diabetes.

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. They should otherwise eat and drink normally and take all their medications as usual

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 10 to 12 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 100,000).

CT coronary angiography exposes the patient to ionising radiation. The effective dose on the Siemens Drive CT scanner used is in the range of 1 to 8 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).

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How much does the examination cost?

Private (Insured)

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

For Private Pricing please see the Referrer Pricing Guide in the Pacific Radiology Website  www.pacificradiology.com

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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. Analysing the coronary artery images using a dedicated workstation and software (Syngo Via) is time consuming and as a result, a final report including the angiogram report will be issued once the analysis is completed. This can be 1-2 weeks.

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Incidental findings:

Non-cardiac significant incidental findings are detected in 5-10% 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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