Technical advances mean that much of the information previously obtained from invasive angiogram procedures can now be obtained by non-invasive scans of the heartCardiac imaging involves either look at the anatomy of the coronary arteries (e.g. cardiac CT) or at the functional performance of the heart’s blood supply (e.g. stress echo, cardiac MRI).
For patients with abnormal ECG, high blood pressure, breathlessness, palpitations
Rest echocardiography (TTE) is a routine cardiac test to asses the general health, structure and function of the heart muscle and valves. It uses ultrasound, simlar to pregnancy scan, and involves no radiation.
Total duration ~ 30 minutes.
For patients with chest pain, breathlessness, exercise related symptoms
After taking a set of ultrasound images at rest, we will ask you to exercise on a treadmill. If you can’t do this then we can inject dobutamine, a mild form of adrenaline. Images are then acquired immediately after exercise or during drug infusion.
Total duration ~ 45 minutes.
Cardiac CT (CT angio)
For patients with chest pain, high cholesterol
Using a small amount of radiation, the coronary arteries can be clearly visualised alowing us to see if there are any narrowings in the vessels or if there is just early signs of disease (calcification) which may require preventitive cholesterol and blood pressure treatment. A dye is injected in the arm and also a drug to slow the heart rate (beta blocker) to obtain blur-free images
Total duration ~ 20 minutes.
For patients with breathlessness, abnormal ECG, chest pain
An MRI scan provides detailed images of the heart structure and function. MRI does not involve radiation. A dye (gadolinium) is injected to look for scarring, and a drug (adenosine) to assess blood flow.
Total duration ~ 50 minutes