CT Angiography

64-tomografos1 Three-dimensional imaging of abdominal arteries where an aneurysm in the abdominal aorta has been detected

Up until recently, we could not even imagine that the 64-slice CT Scanner could offer such good imaging of the lumen of blood vessels. The major advantage here is that the examination is painless compared to standard angiography, avoiding the relatively painful procedure and the complications of standard angiography or coronary angiogram by catheterisation of the aorta.

Now the vessels of the body and the head can be examined either by standard angiography or magnetic resonance angiography or by using colour Triplex ultrasonography. Because of the use of intravascular catheters, standard angiography is a method that can have complications, the patient requires hospitalisation, and it should be performed when no other diagnostic option is available, especially when we want to intervene and correct faults using the so called 'balloon'. MRI angiography is highly accurate, but costs more, and does involve some limitations such as claustrophobia, the presence of a pacemaker or metallic foreign bodies within the body, while it does not allow the examination of the vessel walls and surrounding structures in the way that the CT scanner examines them. Colour ultrasonography is a very easy method that poses some limitations to the examination of deep vessels and as a result cannot be used in all cases.

The advantage of CT angiography is that it is absolutely bloodless and particularly suitable for the examination of all body, cervical and brain blood vessels. It only requires the intravenous infusion of iodinated contrast medium, the same one used for a CT coronary angiogram.

In identifying stenoses or occlusions or other vascular diseases such as aortic or cerebral aneurysm, the accuracy of diagnosis reaches 98%. At the same time it can examine the blood vessel walls, which is not possible in a standard digital angiography using catheters. The quantity of contrast medium required is usually smaller than that of standard angiography and is administered intravenously, while the radiation dose is slightly higher. A major advantage of this method, like in CT coronary angiogram, is that no hospitalisation is necessary, while the examination is normally completed within 30 minutes.

64-tomografos2  Three-dimensional imaging of the root of the aorta and the coronary vessels

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