CT (Computerized Tomography) and CTA (Computerized Tomography Angiogram) of the Brain - Inpatient
What is a Computerized Tomography Angiogram (CT/CTA) of the Brain?
A CT of the brain is a special test using a computer to take pictures of your brain, blood vessels and bones through the use of x-rays.
A CTA is a similar test that uses dye to help the pictures of arteries and blood vessels in your neck that travel to your brain show up better. Doctors can use CT angiogram of your brain to check blood flow through arteries and to find narrowing or blockages in your or neck or brain arteries.
How is a CT/CTA performed?
For the scan you will lie on a table on your back. This table can move in and out of the CT scanner. During the scan you will need to hold as still as possible. The machine will make a humming noise. You should not wear any jewelry around your neck. Most people do not feel claustrophobic while in the CT scanner.
During the CT scan, a liquid medicine may be given through an IV. This will go through your body to your neck and into the vessels of the brain. The dye can be seen in your neck and brain arteries on the pictures made by the CT scan. During the scan you will not experience any pain.. Some people feel a warm sensation.
To get the best pictures of your body, you must lie very still during the scanning periods.
What are the risks?
CT scans expose you to radiation. In ordering this test, your doctor has already considered that the risks to you from radiation are outweighed by the benefit of the information the test will provide.
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have had an allergic or other bad reaction to contrast dye or shellfish. There are ways to decrease the risk of a reaction if your health care team knows about your history.
If you are pregnant or might be pregnant, tell your doctor before the scan. Your doctor will help you decide if you should have the scan or not.
If you have diabetes, tell your doctor right away. If you have diabetes and are taking any of the pills listed below you will need to not take these for 48 hours after your scan is done.
What happens next?
Many doctors will review the images. Once they complete their reading the results will be available to the physician that ordered the scan. Your doctor will talk with you about the results and what the results mean for your care. It may take as long as 24 hours for your scan to be evaluated and to hear what the doctor recommends.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 09/13/2012
Copyright © 09/13/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7414
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