TMH excited about CT Angiography services

— The Memorial Hospital will be offering CT Angiography services to patients in Moffat County.

CT Angiography is a minimally invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Angiography uses a contrast material to produce pictures of major blood vessels throughout the body.

In CT Angiography (CTA), the CAT scanner is used to produce detailed images of specific blood vessels.

"We are excited to be able to provide this service in our Moffat County," Radiology Manager Stacie Rosenthal said. "The availability of these services has a huge impact on our patients because they will be able to get the proper diagnosis and follow-up with a physician or surgeon in our own community."

What is a CT Angiography used to diagnose?

• Disease and aneurysms in the aorta or in other major blood vessels

• Detect atherosclerotic disease in the carotid artery of the neck, which may limit blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke

• Identify small aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation inside the brain

• Detect atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs

• Narrowing in the arteries that feed the kidneys

• Detect injury to one or more arteries in trauma patients

• Guide surgeons making repairs to diseased and injured blood vessels

How does the procedure work?

In many ways, CT scanning works very much like other X-ray examinations. X-rays are a form of radiation - like light or radio wave - that can be directed at the body. Different body parts absorb the x-rays in varying degrees.

With CT scanning an X-ray beam and a set of electronic X-ray detectors rotate around you, measuring X-ray absorption in a specific area of your body. At the same time, the examination table is moving through the scanner, so that they X-ray beam follows a spiral path. A special computer program processes the data creating pictures of your internal anatomy.

CT imaging is sometimes compared to looking into a loaf of bread by cutting the loaf into thin slices.

Refinements in detector technology allow new CT scanners to obtain multiple slices in a single rotation. When the image slices are reassembled by computer software, the result is a very detailed multi-dimensional view of the body's interior.

Modern CT scanners are so fast that they can scan through large sections of the body in just a few seconds.

When a contrast material is introduced to the bloodstream during the procedure, it clearly defines the blood vessels being examined by making them appear bright white.

How is it performed?

This examination is usually done on an outpatient basis.

The technologist begins by positioning the patient on the CT examination table, usually lying flat on his or her back. A nurse or technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a small vein in the arm.

The table will then move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed. As the images are being recorded, the automatic injector machine connected to the IV will continue to inject contrast material at a controlled rate.

The actual CT scanning takes between 10 and 25 minutes and the entire procedure is usually completed within one hour.

What are the benefits of angiography?

• CT angiography is able to detect narrowing of blood vessels in time for corrective therapy to be done.

• Many patients can undergo CT angiography instead of a conventional catheter angiogram, which is a more invasive procedure requiring placement of a needle in a major artery.

• This procedure is a useful way of screening for arterial disease because it is safer than angiography, less time-consuming, and is a cost-effective alternative.

• No x-rays remain in the patient's body after a CT examination.

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