A carotid CT angiogram uses a series of X-rays to diagnose vascular pathologies in the neck and brain and certain bone pathologies in the skull. In this case, a contrast agent is injected intravenously to highlight the area being examined.
30 to 45 minutes
- A blood test to evaluate the kidneys' effectiveness at eliminating the contrast agent is required for this exam.
- You should plan to arrive 2 hours before the appointment time.
- During the appointment, you should advise staff whether you have allergies or are diabetic, as you will receive additional instructions.
- For women of childbearing age, it is important to advise the technologist if you might be pregnant, as X-rays are harmful to the fetus.
- Breastfeeding women must stop breastfeeding for a period of 48 hours.
- You must be in a fasting state for at least 3 hours before the exam.
- Remove earrings, hearing aids, eyebrow piercings, hair clips and wigs.
A medical imaging technologist will position you on your back with your head in a head rest. The technologist may immobilize your head to prevent any movement during the image acquisition. An IV catheter is inserted into a vein so that the contrast agent can be injected. This can cause a sensation of warmth, a false need to urinate, or a metallic taste in your mouth. These effects only last a few seconds and then immediately disappear. You will be given eye and throat shields to prevent these areas from being exposed unnecessarily to radiation.
Follow-up and side effects
- A radiologist will analyze the exam and send the report to your treating physician.
- An allergic reaction may occur, but the team is prepared to quickly react to this possibility.
- You will have to drink a lot of water to eliminate the contrast agent.
- For diabetics, a second blood test may be required 48 hours after the exam. These patients will receive additional instructions about restarting their medication.
Medical Imaging Department