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What is an CT Pulmonary Angiogram Scan?
A CT pulmonary angiogram is a special type of CT scan that is used to take detailed images of the pulmonary arteries. The pulmonary arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. In order to take the images, contrast dye is injected into a vein in the arm. The dye then travels through the pulmonary arteries and makes them easier to see on the CT scan. The CT scan is usually performed as part of an evaluation for possible Pulmonary Embolism (PE). PE is a condition where a clot has travelled from elsewhere in the body and has become lodged in one of the pulmonary arteries. A CT pulmonary angiogram can often diagnose PE even when other imaging tests are inconclusive. It is important to diagnosis PE promptly.
When & Why CT Pulmonary Angiogram Scan is Prescribed?
Typically, a CT pulmonary angiogram is prescribed when someone presents with signs and symptoms that could indicate a Pulmonary Embolism. These may include shortness of breath, chest pain or even light-headedness. The scan can be used to rule out PE or it can confirm the diagnosis so that treatment can begin immediately. Additionally, a CT pulmonary angiogram may be ordered if blood tests indicate that someone is at a high risk for PE. This scan can provide an accurate diagnosis and prevent potentially life-threatening complications.
CT pulmonary angiography is considered to be very safe and does not involve radiation exposure.