Cardiac CT Scan

Private Heart Scan – Derby, Burton and Solihull

A number of standard tests are being used in new ways, the good old CT scanner being one of them. A CT scan typically involves passing all or part of a patient through a large doughnut shaped device. The scanner takes X-ray pictures in slices through the part of the body being investigated. These pictures can be built up to form a 3D image.

A Cardiac CT is essentially a CT scan of the heart. There is a ‘short & a ‘long’ version. The short version is the CT Calcium Score (also called a Lifescan by some companies) & the long version the CT Coronary Angiogram.

Cardiac CT Scan

Most people are aware that the narrowings in the arteries of your heart are due to cholesterol. However, this ‘lump’ of cholesterol is actually made up of a number of materials, including cholesterol, white blood cells and calcium. The CT Calcium score is a quick and easy test to essentially look at the amount of calcium in the arteries which is known to correlate with narrowings in the arteries. If there is little or no calcium in the arteries, it is extremely unlikely that the person has any serious problems with the heart arteries.

If however the calcium levels are high, this does not confirm serious problems, just that we will need a different test to get the information with want – possibly a dobutamine stress echocardiogram, stress MRI or private coronary angiogram.

CT Calcium scoring is still a relatively new assessment. We know it’s not useful in people known to have previous heart problems such as heart attacks, stents or a bypass operation. It’s also not useful if you have a very low or very low heart attack risk. The main use is as part of an overall risk assessment of a person – to work out if they have a likelihood of having worrying coronary artery disease.

What to expect from your Private Heart Scan?

The entire private heart scan is a relatively simple and painless procedure that can be completed within a few minutes. The patient is placed on a movable table that makes a pass through the CT scanner. The patient may be connected to an ECG monitor in order to monitor the heart rate. The test does not cause any adverse effects or problems and the patients can return to their everyday routine after the procedure. The results in this case are analysed by computer and sent to the referring physician & in some cases can be communicated to the patients.

What are the common risks associated with a Cardiac CT scan?

The main disadvantage associated with a Cardiac CT scan is the exposure of the patient to radiation. As this can lead to the development of cancer in the later stages of life, it is seen as a huge limiting factor of the scan. However, the radiation exposure is minimal and usually do not cause any adverse effects. Pregnant women are advised against undergoing the test as it can lead to complications to the foetus in the form of birth defects and other common problems. The contrast agent injected into the patient may also provoke an allergic reaction in some cases. Therefore, it is important to consult with your doctor before deciding to undergo the procedure.

Book an appointment with a Private Cardiologist today

Please get in contact with consultant cardiologist Dr Aftab Gill to arrange an appointment for a consultation we can discuss the need for investigations and private heart scan options. Dr Gill holds consultation appointments in Derby, Burton and Solihull.