V I C T O R I A H E A R T

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We offer "Female Only" appointments for all our tests, including echocardiograms.
Please ask for our "Female Only" option if you prefer an all female team (cardiac technician, sonographer and/or cardiologist) for your test.

This service is performed externally – a referral for this service is arranged following a formal Consultation with one of our Cardiologists. 

Computed Tomography (CT) Coronary Angiogram is a minimally invasive test that visualises the coronary arteries which supply blood to your heart.

This test can identify and characterise coronary artery plaque (a build-up of cholesterol and/or calcium in the wall of your heart’s arteries).  Furthermore, the severity of artery narrowing caused by plaque accumulation can also be assessed.

A CT Coronary Angiogram can be used to assess symptoms such as chest pain/discomfort and/or shortness of breath.  It can also be requested after an abnormal ECG or echocardiogram has been performed, or prior to heart surgery (eg. valve replacement).

This test is performed in a specialist radiology centre.  Usually, you’ll be asked not to eat anything for four hours prior to the test.  You can drink water, but avoid caffeinated beverages for the preceding 12 hours as they can increase your heart rate.  A heart rate less than 60 beats per minute is required to enable an accurate scan.  Your Cardiologist may provide you with a medication (eg. beta-blocker) to take prior to the test to help achieve a lower heart rate.  Further medication may be needed if your heart rate is too high when you arrive for your scan.

A CT Technician will insert a small, short needle into a major vein lying on the inside of your elbow and place electrodes on your chest to record your heart rate and rhythm.  You will lie on a table that slides through a short ring-shaped machine.

Immediately before the scan, you will be given a spray of nitroglycerin (GTN) under your tongue to enlarge your coronary arteries to their maximum size.  This medication may cause a headache. 

Iodine-containing contrast dye is then delivered quickly into your arm vein, with scanning taking place as the dye passes through the heart arteries.  After the contrast is injected, you may feel flushed or have a metallic taste in your mouth – these are common sensations and subside within seconds.  Contrast dye may be unsuitable for those with significant kidney disease, thyroid disease or a previously documented severe allergy to contrast.

Although the actual scanning portion of the test takes only a couple of minutes, it may take up several hours for the entire process to be completed, especially if you require further medication to slow your heart rate.

After your scan is completed, you can return to your normal daily activities (inc. driving).

Appropriate follow-up of your result will be arranged by your Cardiologist.

Appointment