Computerized tomographic angiography, also called CT angiography (CTA), is a radiological test that combines the technology of a conventional CT scan with that of traditional angiography to create detailed images of the blood vessels in the body. CTA can assess the status of both the large arteries and veins in most parts of the body, including the brain. The test involves the use of x rays which obtain multiple sectional images which are then reconstructed by a computer into 3 dimensional pictures.

Angiography involves the injection of contrast dye into a blood vessel to help visualize the status of the blood vessels. When the contrast dye is used to visualize veins, the study is called a venogram, and when it is used to visualize arteries, it is known as an arteriogram. In CT angiogram, the dye is always injected into a vein first and as the dye circulates from the veins into the arteries, images are obtained during both phases. CT angiography is considered less invasive than the traditional.

What are some common uses of CT angiography?

CTA is commonly used to assess:

  • disease of the aorta (Aneurysms, dissections)
  • disease of the pulmonary artery (pulmonary embolism
  • the carotid artery and its branches (stenosis)
  • vessels of the aorta in the chest (thoracic outlet)
  • vessels in the arm (look for emboli)
  • the kidney vessels (look for cause of hypertension)
  • any area of stenosis/aneurysms in the body
  • presence of AV fistula
  • individuals who have already had vascular surgery
  • patients after trauma