UNLIKE the regular CT (Computed Tomography) scan which magnifies body parts and organs, CT Angiography (CTA) looks into the blood vessels to detect blocked or narrowed arteries and veins throughout the body. A dye is pumped into the body’s system via a venous line in the arm and the CT scan picks up images and viewed through a computer.
Regular CT scans I have undergone so many times since a cancer diagnosis in October 2000 as a means of surveillance. Through the years of scanning various lesions found in some parts of my body have been detected and followed up for any change in size or appearance. Except for a large tumor detected in my right pelvic area by my September 2014 CT scan (already done every two years), the rest have either decreased in size or disappeared completely. The large tumor picked up by the CT scan came out to be a recurrence of my cancer – Leiomyosarcoma or LMS of my uterus – and it got removed via surgery.
CT Angiography is the latest and a new diagnostic procedure I went through January 10, 2018 during my confinement at the Casualty Female Observation Room of Amiri Hospital. I presented with a severe right-sided chest pain of two weeks duration and in order to rule out pulmonary embolism (as the pain is radiating to my back), aneurysm (bulging and rapture of a blood vessel) and narrowing (stenosis) of the heart arteries (coronary) and elsewhere my body’s vessels where blood is being supplied.
The attending physician ordered the test as STAT and less than 15 minutes after a venous line was established in my right arm, I was wheeled to the CT scan room. The procedure lasted for about 20 minutes and I was soon taken back to Unit A, Bed 1, of the Female Observation Room.
Report came within 15 minutes and it noted “Aortic Dissection?” as Clinical Information. The main findings or Impression follows:
“Atherosclerotic calcific changes of the troracic and visualized upper abdomen aorta, with normal contrast opacification, no dissection flap, filling defect or aneurysmal dilatation.”
Except for “Spondylodegenarative changes on the examined spine” and “Diffuse hypo attenuation fatty attenuation of the liver” the rest of the scanned body parts, aside from the main findings, are all normal or insignificant.
Atherosclerosis is a disease wherein plaques build up inside the arteries, in my case the aorta, which is the main and biggest blood vessel of the heart: the one coming from the lungs and the other coming from the upper abdomen.
Because of my age and my heart disease and diabetes, the findings, as explained by the doctor, are normal and there is nothing to worry about. I only need to be followed up by a Cardiologist on a regular basis and was told that should other symptoms related to the heart and chest surface, I simply go to the Casualty of the hospital, as a recently did, for assessment and management, in case there is something untoward which comes out during a visit.
The right-sided chest pain which I still feel as I write this piece, as read in the discharge paper by my attending doctor, is Myositis, which is an inflammation of the muscle of any body parts involved. The pain started after I sneezed hard and long and that has injured the muscles in my affected chest part. I was prescribed with a muscle relaxant (Norgesic), anti-inflammatory (Cataflan) and a cream (Clofen) and then got discharged.