CT angiogram of the abdomen is a test done to look at the arteries of the abdomen. This will include the main artery called the aorta and its branches. A CT angiogram of the abdomen will be done when there is suspicion for disease of the blood vessels.
What is CT angiogram?
A CT angiogram of the abdomen is done after injecting contrast into your vein. A CT scan will be done to highlight the arteries in the abdomen. We can also see all the other organs and structures that we see on a regular CT scan of the abdomen.
What does a CT angiogram of the abdomen show?
A CT angiogram will show all the major arteries of the abdomen. This will include the aorta. Its major branches include the celiac artery, superior mesenteric and inferior mesenteric arteries, renal arteries and iliac arteries.
A CT angiogram of the abdomen is often done together with a CT angiogram of the pelvis.
We can also diagnose abnormalities in the abdomen. This test is not as good as a regular CT of the abdomen for non arterial abnormalities because the technique is for the arteries.
Why would a doctor order a CT angiogram and what does it show?
A CT angiogram is often ordered when there is suspicion for disease of the arteries in the abdomen.
This can be an aneurysm or abnormal widening of the artery.
We can see blockages, narrowing and clots of the arteries.
Injuries of the blood vessels can be diagnosed like after trauma.
Abnormal communication between artery and vein can be seen.
Active bleeding can be detected. We can see the contrast that we injected spilling out of the artery.
We can see a dissection of the artery. This happens when there is a tear along the inner wall of the artery. Blood will then extend along the layers of the blood vessel. This can cause a blockage or clot to form.
CT angiogram for GI bleed
This is a specialized angiogram where we see if there is active bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. The contrast injected will spill into the lumen of the bowel if there is an active bleed.
What is the difference between a CT scan and a CT angiogram?
A CT scan and CT angiogram cover the same anatomy in the abdomen. The two tests differ in the technique and timing of scanning.
The CT angiogram is done to best detect disease in the arteries of the abdomen. There is a focus on the arteries in the abdomen.
A regular CT scan of the abdomen with contrast is done so that we can diagnose abnormalities all throughout the abdomen. We can also see the blood vessels and can often diagnose abnormalities as well.
Are you sedated for a CT angiogram?
No, this is usually done while you are awake.
Is CT angiogram painful?
No there is usually no pain. Placing the IV for the contrast injection may be uncomfortable.
How do you prepare for a CT angiogram?
Tell your doctor about any medications, medical conditions you have, possibility of pregnancy and allergies to contrast. Wear comfortable clothing. Remove all metal from the body being scanned as they can cause artifacts.
What are the side effects of a CT angiogram?
A CT angiogram is usually safe and has no side effects.
Some people may suffer allergic reactions.
Patients who have kidney problems may have a worsening after injection of contrast.
Radiation exposure may slightly increase your risk of developing cancer. We consider the benefit of obtaining a correct diagnosis greater than that risk.
Sometimes the contrast injected can leak out of the vein into your arm.
Can I drive home after a CT angiogram?
Yes. There is usually no sedation or other medications given. You may be instructed to stay for observation or treated if you develop an allergic reaction.
Does CT angiogram show blockages?
Yes, a CT angiogram will show blockages of the arteries. We can also see if the blockage is partial or complete.
CT angiogram of the abdomen: summary
A CT angiogram of the abdomen is a CT scan done to best detect abnormalities of the arteries. Many kinds of abnormalities can be seen like blockages, clots, bleeds and dissections. CT angiograms of the abdomen can also detect abnormalities in the abdomen as well.