Coronary CT Angiography FAQs

Coronary CT angiography (CTA) is a noninvasive test that uses X-rays in the form of computed tomography to diagnose coronary artery disease. Coronary CTA provides high-resolution images of the blood vessels supplying the heart, allowing identification of narrowing or blockages caused by plaque.

Patients who should consider a coronary CTA include those with:

  • Chest pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms of coronary artery disease
  • Unclear or inconclusive stress test results
  • A strong family history of early heart disease
  • Multiple other risk factors for coronary artery disease (hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol abnormality, smoking)
  • Provides high-definition 3-D images of the arteries feeding the heart and blockages at the earliest stages when they can be treated most effectively
  • Most accurate noninvasive diagnostic test for coronary artery disease
  • Measures both calcified and noncalcified plaques. Noncalcified plaques are more prone to rupture and cause heart attacks than calcified plaques. By assessing both types of plaque, coronary CTA analyzes your risk for a heart attack.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of therapy since noncalcified plaques may shrink with effective treatment

During a coronary CTA, contrast (iodine dye) is injected into a vein to highlight the coronary arteries. The test is done in a single breath-hold while the patient lies on a CT scanner bed.

Our subspecialized cardiac imaging team, led by Daniel S. Berman, MD, an internationally recognized leader in cardiac imaging, has interpreted tens of thousands of coronary CTAs. Our team is in the forefront of clinical research related to coronary CTA. They provide imaging diagnostic findings to referring physicians to help them develop effective treatment plans.

A physician must order the test. Please call 310-423-8000 to schedule an exam. After the exam, the patient is referred back to the referring physician.