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Benefits and Risks - Heart and Vascular CT Angiography


  • Heart and vascular CT angiography may eliminate the need for surgery. If surgery remains necessary, it can be performed more accurately.
  • Heart and vascular CT angiography can detect narrowing or obstruction of blood vessels allowing for potentially corrective therapy to be done.
  • CT angiography may give more precise anatomical detail than other imaging, particularly in small blood vessels.
  • Many patients can undergo heart and vascular CT angiography to diagnose blood vessel problems.
  • Heart and vascular CT angiography is faster, non-invasive and has fewer complications.
  • CT Angiography is a useful way of detecting arterial (such as narrowing of blood vessels in the heart) and venous disease, as well as structural abnormalities of the heart before there are symptoms or when symptoms are not clearly related to blood vessel disease.
  • There is also potentially less discomfort because contrast material is injected into an arm vein.
  • No radiation remains in a patient's body after heart and vascular CT angiography.
  • X-rays used in standard CT scans have no immediate side effects.


  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis will generally outweigh the risk.
  • If you have a history of allergy to contrast material, your doctor may advise you to take special precautionary medication, such as a steroid, for a few hours or the day before CT angiography to lessen the chances of allergic reaction. Another option is to undergo a different exam that does not require iodinated contrast material injection such as MRI.
  • In patients who are at risk for kidney failure and who already have borderline kidney functions; administering iodinated contrast material could potentially further damage kidney functions.
  • Women should always inform their SMIL radiologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
  • There is possible risk of serious allergic reaction to contrast materials that contain iodine, but this is extremely rare.

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