What is CT Angiography?

A CT angiography (CTA) is a type of CT exam that creates detailed images of blood vessels. It is typically used to examine blood vessels in the brain, neck, abdomen and chest. Most CTA exams last about 15 minutes but the actual scanning only takes a few minutes.

A CTA uses contrast injected through an IV. Contrast helps our radiologists see the blood vessels more clearly. The benefits of contrast typically outweigh any potential risk. We carefully asses your risk before giving you contrast.

How to Prepare

You can log into Patient Gateway for more details about your specific appointment.

  • When to Arrive - Please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment so we can properly prepare for your imaging.
  • Medication - Keep taking your medications as prescribed.
  • Eating & Drinking - Do not eat solid food two hours for before your your appointment. Drink plenty of clear liquids on the day of your appointment such as water, broth, clear soups, juice or black decaffeinated coffee or tea. 
  • Diabetes - If you are diabetic, you can keep taking your medication on the day of the appointment. Drink extra fruit juices to make up for not eating solid food for two hours. The technologist will talk to you about possibly stopping your medication after your exam.
  • Clothing - If you can, try to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing with no metal like zippers or underwire in bras. Metal can blur the images. We may ask you to change into hospital attire for clearer images.
  • Valuables - We suggest you leave your valuables at home so you don’t have to worry about them. You can keep your things with you during your exam.
  • Children - Children are not allowed in the exam room. If you need to bring kids, please bring someone to watch them in the waiting room.

Patient Resources

Use these patient resources to learn more about getting a CTA at Mass General Imaging. You can contact us if you have any questions.

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CT Screening Form

CT Screening Form

You can print this screening form and fill it our before your appointment.

checking in
Checking In

Checking In

Find out what happens when you check and why we keep asking for your date of birth.

ct and radiation
CT and Radiation

CT and Radiation

We pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure. Find out how.

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CT with Anesthesia

CT with Anesthesia

Learn what to expect when you get an CT with anesthesia.

order your images
Order Your Images

Order Your Images

You can order your images online or in person.

get your results
Get Your Results

Get Your Results

Most imaging results are in Patient Gateway in about a week. Sign in or sign up now.