CTA Coronary Artery Study

Purpose of the Test

A CTA Coronary Artery Study is a non-invasive test. It is used to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD), evaluate left ventricular function and determine the best treatment for people who have CAD.

Patient Instructions


  • Do not eat solid food for 1 hour before the test.
  • Please drink 4 to 6 glasses (8-oz. each) of water the day before your test.


  • May take all regularly scheduled meds EXCEPT Actoplus Met, Avandamet, Fortamet, Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glucovance, Glumetza, Janumet, Metaglip, Metformin, Riomet, Prandimet and Kombiglyze. Medicines for diabetes given by mouth will need to be held until 48 hours after the test.
  • If you use Viagra, Levitra or Cialis, DO NOT use them for 48 hours before your Coronary CTA scan.
  • Bring a list of your medicines with you.
  • Tell your doctor if you have an allergy to IV contrast.


  • Plan to remove your shirt and wear a hospital gown.


  • Do not smoke the morning of the test.

Length of Test

  • Plan for at least 1½ hours.

The Test

  • We will insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm or hand. We will use this line to give you any medicines and the contrast needed for your test.
  • We may check your blood pressure before, during and after the test.
  • We will need a slow and steady heart rate to best see the structures of your heart. If needed, a nurse will give you an oral medicine that will lower your heart rate.
  • Once your heart rate is at the right level, often one hour later, your CT scan will begin.
  • We will place electrodes on your chest. We may have to shave some hair from the chests of male patients. Doing so ensures the electrodes make good contact with the chest to accurately monitor your heart’s rhythm.
  • During the CT exam, we closely monitor your heart rate and heart rhythm (ECG).
  • We will take two sets of pictures – one without contrast and one while contrast is being injected. The contrast will make you feel warm and may give you a metal-like taste in your mouth. This feeling will last 20 to 30 seconds.
  • The test will take about 30 minutes.
  • Once the technologist is sure that all the information is gathered, you will go back to your room.
  • After the test, you may eat as instructed by your doctor or your care plan.

If you have any questions, please call CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center at 320-656-7020 or 800-448-3455.