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Advanced cardiac imaging

At The Beardwood Hospital, we are able to conduct CT & MRI scans of the heart.

What is Advanced Cardiac Imaging?

At The Beardwood Hospital, we are able to conduct CT & MRI scans of the heart. These scans can identify hidden heart disease and offer early detection. CT uses radiation (X-rays) to image the coronary arteries. MRI uses a strong magnetic field to image other heart structures.

Our Consultant Cardiologist with expertise in Advanced Cardiac Imaging, Dr Sanjay Banypersad, will then report on these images for a diagnosis.

What are the benefits of Advanced Cardiac Imaging?

CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA):

  1. Early detection of any coronary artery disease (CAD), so patients may be started on appropriate therapy, thereby reducing their risk of a heart attack.
  2. Results in fewer people needing to take on the risks of an invasive coronary angiogram
  3. Calculate the calcium score

Cardiac MRI:

This is the one of the best ways to test for:

  • Heart size & pumping function, better known as Ejection Fraction (EF)
  • Assessing the extent of scar tissue in the heart
  • Assessing the presence of inflammation (myocarditis) or structural scans are safe.

Who would benefit from the advanced Cardiac Imaging?

CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA):

  • Adults 18+ with any type of chest pain can undergo CTCA, according to National guidance (NICE CG95) in order to detect coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD can also present with breathlessness
  • Any adult with previous bypass graft surgery (to assess disease in the bypass grafts).

Cardiac MRI:

  • Adult patients with unexplained chest pain,  breathlessness, palpitations or blackouts (to exclude heart failure or cardiomyopathy)
  • Adult patients undergoing chemotherapy (for the most accurate ejection). Serial scans are safe as there is no radiation with MRI
  • Adult patients with a family history of heart disease, which may be a sign of inherited cardiomypathies.

How to prepare and what to expect on the day of the scan:

Before the scan:

  • Recent blood test (within 3 months) for kidney function (known as Urea & Electrolytes)
  • For CT coronary angiograms,  avoid caffeine, chocolate and physical exercise on the day of the CT scan. Wear comfortble clothing
  • You will receive an information leaflet with your appointment.

Upon arrival:

  • Safety checks will be conducted by a member of staff
  • You will recieve an information leaflet with your appointment.

After the scan:

  • If you have been given IV medication as part of your test, you may be asked to wait in the department for up to 30 minutes for observation.
  • You will be able to drive home
  • The scan will be reported and sent to your Consultant within 3-4 working days

Who may NOT be suitable / Are they any Disadvantages?

  • Irregular heart rhythms can sometimes yield an indeterminate scan result
  • Imaging in patients with renal function eGFR < 30ml/min is generally best avoided
  • CT coronary angiograms are best avoided in patients with significant asthma because of the need to administer intravenous β-blocker medication (IV Metoprolol).

NB: Patients taking regular prescribed β-blocker medication are fine.

Paying for your procedure

MRI scan costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the procedure will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the consultant radiologist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.