Advertisement

What should I think about if I have a computed tomography angiogram?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
There are several issues to consider before undergoing a computed tomography (CT) angiogram. First, not all CT scanners are created equal. If you opt for a CT angiogram, make sure the device is the latest generation. Second, although the scans are noninvasive, they do carry risks. Perhaps the most significant issue, though, is that the scans may reveal partial blockages that might not otherwise have been visible. While this may seem like a good thing, it's not clear that it is. Some people will want to "fix" these with angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery rather than trying lifestyle changes and medications. This can lead to greater expense and greater risk for complications, and it is not clear that going after these narrowings in people who have no symptoms helps them avoid heart attacks or live longer. Nor is it clear yet whether using CT scans in place of angiograms will improve health outcomes -- ultimately the most important consideration. For these reasons, many insurance companies do not pay for CT angiograms, and they are not routinely used.

Continue Learning about X-Ray Imaging

Are x-rays used to diagnose osteoarthritis?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
Absolutely. Especially if you want to make your doc or healthcare system richer. When you tell your ...
More Answers
How are x-rays used to diagnose knee and hip problems?
Scott D. Martin, MDScott D. Martin, MD
A standard x-ray, the most commonly used imaging technique, gives a two-dimensional picture of t...
More Answers
What is a skull X-ray?
RealAgeRealAge
A skull x-ray is a series of pictures of the bones that surround the brain, including the facial bon...
More Answers
Why might my baby need an X-ray in the NICU?
Intermountain Registered DietitiansIntermountain Registered Dietitians
An x-ray is the most common type of imaging scan. An x-ray can show the condition of the lungs a...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.