BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuCT angiography - arms and legsComputed tomography angiography - peripheral; CTA - peripheral; CTA - Runoff; PAD - CT angiography; Peripheral artery disease - CT angiography; PVD - CT angiographyCT angiography combines a CT scan with the injection of dye. This technique is able to create pictures of the blood vessels in the arms or legs. CT stands for computed tomography. How the Test is Performed You will lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner.When you are inside the scanner, the machine's x-ray beam rotates around you. Modern "spiral" scanners can perform the exam without stopping.A computer makes multiple images of the body area, called slices. These images can be stored, viewed on a monitor, or printed on film. Models of the body area in three-dimension can be created by adding the slices together.You must stay still during the exam, because movement blurs the pictures. You may have to hold your breath for short periods of time.The scan should take only about 5 minutes. How to Prepare for the Test Some exams require a special dye, called contrast, to be injected into your body before the test. Contrast helps certain areas show up better on the x-rays.Contrast can be given through a vein (IV) in your hand or forearm. If contrast is used, you also may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 to 6 hours before the test. Let your health care provider know if you have ever had a reaction to contrast. You may need to take medicines before the test to avoid this problem. Before receiving the contrast, tell your provider if you take the diabetes medicine metformin (Glucophage). You may need to take extra steps if you are taking this medicine.The contrast can worsen kidney function problems in people with poorly functioning kidneys. Talk to your provider if you have a history of kidney problems.Too much weight can cause damage to the scanner's working parts. If you weigh more than 300 pounds (135 kilograms), talk to your doctor about the weight limit before the test.You will need to remove jewelry and wear a hospital gown during the CT exam. How the Test will Feel Some people may be uncomfortable lying on the hard table.Contrast given through an IV may cause a:Slight burning feeling Metallic taste in your mouth Warm flushing of your bodyThese feelings are normal and usually go away within a few seconds. Why the Test is Performed You may need this test if you have symptoms of a narrowed or blocked blood vessel in the arms, hands, legs, or feet.Narrowed or blocked blood vesselPeripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition of the blood vessels that supply the legs and feet. It occurs due to narrowing of the arteries in the...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article The test may also be done to diagnose:Abnormal widening or ballooning of part of an artery (aneurysm) Bleeding Swelling or inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) Leg pain during walking or exercise (claudication) Normal Results Results are considered normal if no problems are seen. What Abnormal Results Mean An abnormal result is commonly due to narrowing and hardening of the arteries in the arms or legs from plaque buildup in the artery walls.Plaque buildup in the artery wallsAtherosclerosis, sometimes called "hardening of the arteries," occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries. ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article The x-ray may show a blockage in the vessels caused by:Abnormal widening or ballooning of part of an artery (aneurysm) AneurysmAn aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a part of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Blood clots Blood clotsBlood clots are clumps that occur when blood hardens from a liquid to a solid. A blood clot that forms inside one of your veins or arteries is calle...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Other diseases of the arteriesAbnormal results may also be due to:Inflammation of the blood vessels Injury to the blood vessels Buerger disease (thromboangiitis obliterans), a rare disease in which blood vessels of the hands and feet become blocked Buerger disease (thromboangiitis oblite...Thromboangiitis obliterans is a rare disease in which blood vessels of the hands and feet become blocked.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Risks Risks of CT scans include:Exposure to radiation Allergy to contrast dye Damage to the kidneys from the contrast dyeCT scans give off more radiation than regular x-rays. Having many x-rays or CT scans over time may increase your risk for cancer. However, the risk from any one scan is small. You and your provider should discuss this risk compared with the value of an accurate diagnosis for the problem. Most modern scanners use techniques to use less radiation.Let your provider know if you have ever had an allergic reaction to injected contrast dye.The most common type of contrast contains iodine. If you have an iodine allergy, you may have nausea or vomiting, sneezing, itching, or hives if you get this type of contrast. Nausea or vomitingNausea is feeling an urge to vomit. It is often called "being sick to your stomach. "Vomiting or throwing-up is forcing the contents of the stomach ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article SneezingA sneeze is a sudden, forceful, uncontrolled burst of air through the nose and mouth.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article ItchingItching is a tingling or irritation of the skin that makes you want to scratch the area. Itching may occur all over the body or only in one location...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article HivesHives are raised, often itchy, red bumps (welts) on the surface of the skin. They can be an allergic reaction to food or medicine. They can also ap...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article If you need to have this kind of contrast, your provider may give you antihistamines (such as Benadryl) or steroids before the test. The kidneys help remove iodine out of the body. You may need extra fluids after the test to help rid your body of the iodine if you have kidney disease or diabetes.Rarely, the dye may cause a serious allergic response called anaphylaxis. This can be life-threatening. Notify the scanner operator right away if you have any trouble breathing during the test. Scanners have an intercom and speakers so the operator can hear you at all times.AnaphylaxisAnaphylaxis is a life-threatening type of allergic reaction.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Open ReferencesReferencesKauvar DS, Kraiss LW. Vascular trauma: extremity. In: Sidawy AN, Perler BA, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 184.Melville ARI, Belch JJF. Primary and secondary vasospastic disorders (Raynaud's phenomenon) and vasculitis. In: Loftus I, Hinchliffe RJ, eds. Vascular and Endovascular Surgery: A Companion to Specialist Surgical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 12.Reekers JA. Angiography: principles, techniques, and complications. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, Gillard JH, Schaefer-Prokop CM, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 78.AllVideoImagesTogCT scan - illustration CT stands for computerized tomography. In this procedure, a thin X-ray beam is rotated around the area of the body to be visualized. Using very complicated mathematical processes called algorithms, the computer is able to generate a 3-D image of a section through the body. CT scans are very detailed and provide excellent information for the physician.CT scanillustrationCT scan - illustration CT stands for computerized tomography. In this procedure, a thin X-ray beam is rotated around the area of the body to be visualized. Using very complicated mathematical processes called algorithms, the computer is able to generate a 3-D image of a section through the body. CT scans are very detailed and provide excellent information for the physician.CT scanillustration Tests for CT angiography - arms and legs CT angiography - arms and legsArteriogramCT angiography - abdomen and pelvisRelated Information Review Date: 6/16/2020 Reviewed By: Deepak Sudheendra, MD, RPVI, FSIR, Director of DVT & Complex Venous Disease Program, Assistant Professor of Interventional Radiology & Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, with an expertise in Vascular Interventional Radiology & Surgical Critical Care, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 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