Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) is a heart imaging test that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed a patient's coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart. Plaque is made of various substances circulating in the blood, such as fat, cholesterol and calcium that deposit along the inner lining of the arteries. Plaque, which builds up over time, can reduce or in some cases completely block blood flow. Patients undergoing a Coronary CT scan receive an iodine-containing contrast material (dye) as an intravenous (IV) injection to ensure the best possible images of the heart blood vessels.
Computed tomography, more commonly known as a CT or CAT scan, is a diagnostic medical test that, like traditional x-rays, produces multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.
The cross-sectional images generated during a CT scan can be reformatted in multiple planes, and can even generate three-dimensional images. These images can be viewed on a computer monitor, printed on film or transferred to a CD or DVD.