Meet Dr. Michael Lavelle, Coronary CT Angiography (CCTA) physician

As a radiologist with fellowship training in MR/Abdominal Imaging, Dr. Lavelle has a special interest in studies of the heart. CT scanners have rapidly advanced in recent years, allowing radiologists like Dr. Lavelle to take clearer pictures of your heart and even view it while it's beating. The result - we can let you know your risk for heart disease at an even earlier stage.

58 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease, making coronary artery disease (CAD) the number one killer of men and women in the United States. More Americans die of heart disease than all types of cancer combined.

CAD is most commonly produced by atherosclerosis (plaque deposits in the wall of the coronary arteries causing a narrowing of the arteries). Until recently there were no non-invasive studies that could directly evaluate the coronary arteries for the presence of atherosclerotic disease.

Recent advances in multi-detector CT technology now provide detailed three-dimensional images of the beating heart within the timeframe of a single breath-hold. One of the most promising applications for these new tools is the realm of coronary imaging. At Charlotte Radiology, we are currently offering two exams to study the coronary arteries, Calcium Scoring and Coronary CT Angiography (CCTA).

For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit

» Meet our Team of Body Imaging Radiologists

Coronary CT Angiography (CCTA) is a way of examining the small arteries that feed the heart muscle. It uses a computed tomography (CT) scanner to visualize blood flow in the coronary arteries and computer software to manipulate the data into 3 dimensional (3D) images. CCTA is a noninvasive way to examine the walls of the coronary arteries, looking for hard and soft plaque. This information can help your doctor determine your risk of a heart attack.

» See the Cardiac Imaging Brochure
If you're experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fatigue during heavy physical activity, call 911. For patients with suspected coronary artery disease, a Coronary CT Angiogram can help with the management of the disease. Patients who would benefit from this procedure include those with an intermediate to high-risk profile with no typical coronary symptoms, patients who have had inconclusive results from a stress test, and patients with unusual symptoms for CAD, but low to intermediate risk profiles. Please talk with your doctor to assess your risks.
You must not drink or eat anything during the four hours preceding your appointment. Do not consume anything containing caffeine or nicotine starting at midnight on the day of exam. You will be given or prescribed 100 mg of a medication to lower your heart rate, which you will take orally 3 hours prior to your procedure. You will also take one 0.4 mg tablet of sublingual nitroglycerin just prior to the exam.
The Calcium Scoring study, a non-contrast procedure, is typically performed as the pre-contrast portion of the Coronary CTA exam for no additional charge. Once the calcium score is obtained, you will be given 80-120 cc of IV contrast. Following the 15-minute CT exam, you should expect to stay in our office an additional 15-30 minutes for observation.
Once your scan is completed, your images will then be sent to the radiologist for review. Your physician will receive a dictated report discussing the radiologist's findings, including your cardiac score. With this information, your doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment. This may include diet and lifestyle changes, medication and/or further testing.
Typically your referring physician will schedule an appointment for you. If you have been asked to schedule the appointment yourself, please have your physician's order and any pre-authorization information required by your insurance or health plan provider in hand, and call 704-442-4390.