Cardiac imaging is a medical diagnostic technique that utilises various imaging modalities to visualise and assess the structure and function of the heart. These modalities include techniques such as cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI), computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) scans, echocardiography, and nuclear imaging (myocardial perfusion). The primary objective of cardiac imaging is to provide detailed and accurate information about the heart's anatomy, blood flow, and overall performance. This enables the Cardiologist to diagnose and monitor various heart conditions, including coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, and congenital heart defects. Early detection of heart abnormalities is vital in improving patient outcomes in the treatment and management of cardiovascular disease.
CT Coronary Arteries Calcium Score (CACS)
CT Calcium Scoring is a non-invasive imaging technique specifically designed to assess the amount of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries, aiding in the early detection of coronary artery disease (CAD). Our CT software analyses the scan data and predicts cardiovascular risk based on race/ethnicity, age and gender reference data. By quantifying calcified plaque in the coronary vessels, CT Calcium Scoring allows for a more precise evaluation of a patient's cardiac health, enabling timely preventative interventions and lifestyle modifications.
CT coronary angiography (CTCA) is a non-invasive medical imaging technique used to visualise the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. Detailed three-dimensional images of the coronary arteries can be generated, assisting in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease, blockages, or other structural abnormalities. The valuable information obtained by CT coronary angiography plays a crucial role in supporting Cardiologists clinical decisions for treatment planning and patient management.
Prior to the scan
Wear comfortable clothing to your exam. You will be asked to change into a gown for the procedure. Metal objects such as necklaces and metal underwires of bras may affect the CT images. You can either leave them at home or remove them before the examination.
Please continue to take all your medication unless instructed otherwise. If you have any concerns or questions about the procedure, don't hesitate to discuss them with us or your healthcare provider.
Your heart is almost constantly in motion while it beats. To get the best images we need a slow and steady heartrate.
We ask you to adhere to the following instructions prior to the appointment:
When you arrive, you will be asked to change into a gown. You will lie on your back on the CT bed which will move within scanner. Your head will be outside the scanner the whole time.
Before the procedure begins, the technician will attach ECG leads to your chest. The scanner uses the ECG recording of the electrical pulses from your heart. The CT scanning is matched to the ECG, and during periods when the heart moves the least, low radiation dose images of the heart are taken, free of motion.
You will be instructed to hold your breath for each scan (approximately 15-20 seconds). It is important not to move during the scan, as it will affect the quality of the images.
Once all the scans have been taken, the CT technologists will review the quality of the images and then you will be able to get changed and leave the department. The result of the scan will be sent to your referring physician.
Your heart is almost constantly in motion while it beats. To get the best images we need a slow and steady heartrate. You may be given some medication called a beta blocker to lower your heart rate. This helps to improve the image quality as there is more of a stationary period between heartbeats to obtain the data. The length of the procedure varies this is dependent on your heartrate and the need to give you betablockers prior to the scan. NB If you are given betablockers in the department these take 1 hour to work.
When you arrive, you will be asked to change into a gown. You will lie on your back on the CT table which will move within scanner. Your head will be outside the scanner the whole time.
Before the procedure begins, the technician will attach ECG leads to your chest.
The scanner uses the ECG recording of the electrical pulses from your heart. The CT scanning is matched to the ECG, and during periods when the heart moves the least, images of the coronary arteries are taken, free of motion, so that they appear most sharp.
A desirable heart rate is vital to obtain the best quality imaging, this is why a beta blocker may be used at the time of your examination.
An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into a vein in your arm to inject the contrast (x-ray dye) this makes your coronary arteries visible on the CT images. The contrast highlights any blockages in your coronary arteries, helping to diagnose coronary artery disease.
Just prior to the CT scan, nitroglycerin (GTN) will be sprayed under your tongue. This is used to dilate (expand) the coronary arteries to improve visualisation of the vessels.
Once all the scans have been taken, you will remain in the department for an additional 20 mins before the IV cannula is removed and you are allowed to leave.
Nitroglycerin occasionally causes a temporary headache; this usually resolves quickly (within 20 minutes). The result of the scan will be sent to your referring physician.
The MRI technologist will complete the safety check with you. You will be asked to change into a gown and the MRI technologist will then take you into the scanner room. You will be positioned on the examination bed, and we will try to make you as comfortable as possible. ECG leads will be placed on your chest so we can view your heartbeat. An imaging device will then be placed on the chest region that will be examined. These can send and receive radio waves from your body to create the images.
The doughnut shaped MRI scanner is open at both ends. The body part being examined is placed into the center of the MRI scanner. During your examination you will be given a squeeze ball (patient safety bell) in case you need assistance during your scan. Our staff can see and hear you the whole time so please know that you are safe.
The MRI scanner makes a variety of loud noises during the scan and the MRI technologist will provide hearing protection in the form of earplugs and headphones.
Sometimes we will ask you to hold your breath during the examination. This will be important to obtain clear images of your heart.
If contrast is required for the scan, an MRI technologist or Radiologist will insert an intravenous catheter (IV line) into a small vein in your hand or arm. The contrast provides additional detailed information that helps the Radiologist or Cardiologist interpret your images.
If you have been injected with contrast, we will ask you to stay with us for further 10 minutes to ensure your safety. We will then remove your IV line.
Please let our team know in the unlikely event that you experience any unusual symptoms during or after the examination.
Our team of Radiologists or Cardiologists will then look at your images in detail and produce a report that will be sent out to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.