What is a cardiac imaging specialist?
The cardiac imaging specialist team is made up of a team of pediatric cardiologists, radiologists, cardiac sonographers, and imaging technicians.
What kinds of procedures do cardiac imaging specialists do?
The cardiac radiologist uses imaging techniques such as X-rays, ultrasound (echocardiograms), CT scans (computed tomography), and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging).
These tests are used to detect heart disease, determine the cause of your symptoms, and monitor your heart to see if your treatment is working.
Cardiac imaging specialist procedures
Coronary CT angiography (CTCA)
Coronary CT angiography or “CTCA” is a scan that records pictures of your heart. The procedure is done by a cardiac imaging specialist. Before taking pictures, the dye is injected into the vein (usually in the hand). The color highlights any blockages in the coronary arteries, helping to diagnose coronary artery disease.
How to prepare for a CT angiogram?
- You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your exam. You will need to wear a gown during the procedure.
- Metallic objects, such as jewelry, glasses, teeth, and hairpins, can affect CT images. Keep them at home or remove them before the test. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work. Women are asked to remove bras that contain metallic underwear. You may be asked to remove the stitches if possible.
- If contrast material is used in your test, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for a few hours. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking and if you have any allergies. If you have a known allergy to contrast material, your doctor may prescribe medications (usually steroids) to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. To avoid unnecessary delays, consult your doctor before the exact time of your test.
- Also, tell cardiac imaging specialists about recent illnesses or other medical conditions and if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, or thyroid problems. Any of these conditions increase the risk of adverse effects.
- Women should always inform their doctor and CT technicians if they are likely to become pregnant.
Why do I need a CT angiography?
CT angiography is done to:
- Narrowing (stenosis) or blockage of the coronary arteries. It occurs when fats (cholesterol) and calcium form in the arteries. This structure is called a plate.
- Heart problems such as pericarditis (formation of fluid around the heart) and damage or injury to the heart valves
- An abscess (tear) or tear (dissection) in the aorta, which is a large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body
- C Blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Arterial narrowing (peripheral artery disease) in the legs and other parts of the body
- An abnormal pattern of blood vessels indicative of a tumor
What happens during a CTCA?
During the test, you lie on a table inside a large donut-shaped CT scan machine. As the table slowly moves through the scanner, the x-rays rotate around your body. It is common to hear a swirling or grinding noise. The movie clip is blurry, so you are being asked to be very consistent. You may need to hold your breath at times. It is done by cardiac imaging specialists.
What happens after a CTCA?
- As soon as the procedure is complete, you will be able to continue your normal activities.
- If the needle is in your hand, the staff should remove it.
- The staff will give you special instructions.
- The color disappears from your body in the urine. It is colorless so you will not notice it
- Drink plenty of fluids to help remove discoloration.
What are the benefits?
- Cardiac and vascular CT angiography can eliminate the need for surgery. If surgery is needed, it can be done with greater precision.
- Cardiac and vascular CT angiography can detect narrowing or blockage of blood vessels, allowing corrective treatment.
- CT angiography can provide more accurate anatomical details than other images, especially in small blood vessels.
- Most patients undergo cardiac and vascular CT angiography to diagnose vascular problems.
- Cardiac and vascular CT angiography can be quick, non-invasive, and have fewer complications.
- CT angiography is a useful way to diagnose arteries (narrowing of the heart’s blood vessels) and veins, as well as before symptoms appear or when structural abnormalities of the heart appear, or when symptoms are not associated with vascular disease.
- There is also less discomfort since the contrast material is injected into the vein in the arm.
- There is no radiation to the patient’s body after cardiac and vascular CT angiography.
- The x-rays used in standard CT scans have no immediate side effects.
What are the risks?
If a coronary CT angiogram is a safe procedure, the potential risks are:
An allergic reaction to the contrast medium, which can range from mild to severe and may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Renal insufficiency
- Due to exposure to radiation, especially if you have multiple scans over many years, your chance of getting cancer increases slightly
- X-ray dye allergy (tell your doctor if you have a history of allergy)
- Kidney problems as a result of death by X-ray (in patients with kidney problems)
- Headache from medications administered during the procedure.
Cardiac MRI (Heart MRI)
Heart MRI provides comprehensive information on the type and severity of heart disease to help your doctor determine the best way to treat heart problems, such as heart disease, heart valve problems, pericarditis, heart tumors, or attack damage cardiac. Cardiac MRI can help interpret the results of other imaging tests, such as chest x-rays and chest CT scans. The information is interpreted by cardiac imaging specialists.
How to prepare for a cardiac MRI?
You don’t need to do a lot of homework to prepare for your MRI. You can usually eat and drink in the days leading up to the test. Before starting your MRI, you must remove all jewelry and any metallic objects. You will be asked to wear a hospital gown.
Why do you need a cardiac MRI?
The cardiac imaging specialists may suggest an MRI of the heart if he thinks you are at risk for heart failure or less serious heart problems.
Cardiac MRI is a simple test used to diagnose and diagnose many conditions. Some of them are:
- Congenital heart defects
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack damage
- Heart failure
- Heart valve defects
- Inflammation of the lining of the heart (pericarditis).
Since MRIs show cross-sections of the body, they can also help explain or clarify the results of other tests, such as CT scans and X-rays.
What happens during a cardiac MRI?
- You put on a hospital gown first. Small, sticky electrode patches are placed on your chest and back. If you are a person, you will need to partially shave your chest. The electrodes are paired with an electrocardiogram (EKG) monitor, which lists the electrical activity of your heart during the test.
- Most likely, a nurse will insert an intravenous (IV) line into your vein to inject an iodine-based dye called contrast material. This will make your limbs more visible in the images.
- The MRI scanner unit is a long tube that scans your body while you are lying on a platform. It is open at both ends and is well ventilated and fully lit. You lie on your back on the scanner bed, raising your head and legs for comfort. You can speak to the person doing the MRI during the test through the intercom system.
- During the test, you should lie down as much as possible. The technician will ask you to hold your breath from time to time for a while to reduce the blurring of the images due to the movement of your body while you inhale.
- During the scan, the devices make a loud noise. You can muffle the sound by using the headphones or earplugs that you have before the test.
What happens after the cardiac MRI?
- You can return to normal activities on the same day. If you have a sedative, you will stay in the MRI center until the effects of the sedative wear off. You need someone to drive you home.
- The radiologist will review the images and send a copy of the report to your doctor. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the test results.
What are the benefits of cardiac MRI?
- An MRI is a safe and painless scan that produces clear images of the body from any angle. Images are clearer than those obtained by many other methods, including echo and SPECT scanning. It does not use radiation and therefore eliminates significant x-ray doses from cardiac CT.
- Cardiac MRI is useful in a wide variety of heart conditions. It can demonstrate the structure and function of the chambers of the heart and helps estimate the blood flow through the heart valves. It is valuable in evaluating damage to the abnormal heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) and a previous heart attack.
What are the risks of cardiac MRI?
Cardiac MRI does not use radiation. The magnetic fields and radio waves used in cardiac MRI have no significant side effects and are not harmful to most people.
For those with the lowest risk of complications, our Stanford care team works with all of our patients to ensure a safe experience. In some cases, different procedures are suggested. People should talk to their doctor before having a cardiac MRI:
- Have a pacemaker or other adjustable device. The doctor can determine if the device is safe for MRI tests.
- They are in the first trimester of pregnancy. Although there are no reports of adverse effects on the mother or baby, doctors recommend avoiding MRI unless the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.
- It is used in breastfeeding and contrast MRI. Women can express breast milk before the test to feed their babies and after the color has disappeared from their bodies (24 hours).
- You have moderate kidney or liver disease. The color used during the test can lead to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, a rare disease that reduces organ function and causes serious skin problems.
Although it is very rare, the color can cause side effects,
- Allergic reactions
- Changes in taste