CT (Computerized Tomography) and CTA
(Computerized Tomography Angiogram)
of the Brain - Inpatient
What is a Computerized Tomography Angiogram (CT/CTA) of the Brain?
A CT of the brain is a special test using a computer to take pictures of your brain, blood
vessels and bones through the use of x-rays.
A CTA is a similar test that uses dye to help the pictures of arteries and blood vessels in your
neck that travel to your brain show up better. Doctors can use CT angiogram of your brain to
check blood flow through arteries and to find narrowing or blockages in your or neck or brain
How is a CT/CTA performed?
For the scan you will lie on a table on your back. This table can move in and out of the CT
scanner. During the scan you will need to hold as still as possible. The machine will
make a humming noise. You should not wear any jewelry around your neck. Most
people do not feel claustrophobic while in the CT scanner.
During the CT scan, a liquid medicine may be given through an IV. This will go through your
body to your neck and into the vessels of the brain. The dye can be seen in your neck and
brain arteries on the pictures made by the CT scan. During the scan you will not experience
any pain. Some people feel a warm sensation.
To get the best pictures of your body, you must lie very still during the scanning periods.
What are the risks?
CT scans expose you to radiation. In ordering this test, your doctor has already considered
that the risks to you from radiation are outweighed by the benefit of the information the test
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have had an allergic or other bad reaction to contrast dye or
shellfish. There are ways to decrease the risk of a reaction if your health care team knows
about your history.
If you are pregnant or might be pregnant, tell your doctor before the scan. Your doctor will
help you decide if you should have the scan or not.
If you have diabetes, tell your doctor right away. If you have diabetes and are taking
any of the pills listed below you will need to not take these for 48 hours after
your scan is done.
Avandamet® ActoPlus Met® Fortamet® metformin
Glumetza® Glucophage® glyburide Glucovance®
What happens next?
Many doctors will review the images. Once they complete their reading the results will be
available to the physician that ordered the scan. Your doctor will talk with you about the
results and what the results mean for your care. It may take as long as 24 hours for your scan
to be evaluated and to hear what the doctor recommends.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2015 University of
Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority, All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7414