The Cardiac CT service at the Galway Clinic is referred to as a Coronary Angiogram or Cardiac scan.
This examination is made up of 2 parts;
Firstly a Calcium scoring scan is performed
Calcium Scoring scan
A Calcium Scoring scan uses a special X-ray test called CT to check for the build-up of Calcium in Plaques on the walls of the Arteries of the Heart, known as Coronary arteries. A CT scanner, as pictured, will be used to produce images during the examination. This will also measure your Heart rate during the examination. The Coronary Arteries supply blood to the Heart. Normally, the coronary arteries do not contain Calcium. Calcium in the Coronary arteries is an early indicator of Coronary Artery Disease, CAD. Calcified plaques occur when there is a build-up of fat and other substances under the inner layer of the artery. This material can calcify which signals the presence of atherosclerosis, a disease of the vessel wall, also called Coronary Artery Disease. People with this Disease have an increased risk of a Coronary event.
Calcium scoring is not seen as a routine screening tool for people with known CAD.
The level of Calcium in a Patients’ Heart is measured using the ‘Agatston score’ which indicates, based on the percentile results, the level of risk a Patient is at from CAD.
- No Special Preparations are necessary
- You should continue to take your usual medications
- Avoid Caffeine and smoking on the day of the exam.
Why you might be referred for a Calcium Scoring scan
Your Doctor may want you to have a coronary Calcium scan if you have risk factors for Heart Disease.
Those who could benefit from this examination are people who have no symptoms but are at medium risk of Heart Disease.
The major risk factors of CAD are:
- High Blood cholesterol levels
- Family History of Heart attacks
- High Blood Pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Overweight or Obese People
- Physical inactivity
Secondly, a Coronary Angiogram is performed
A CT Coronary angiogram relies on the opacification of the coronary arteries, using a CT contrast Dye. This is administered through a cannula, which is inserted into the patients’ arm. CT Coronary Angiograms allow for the visualization of the heart muscle, heart valves and the Coronary Arteries. The Coronary Arteries supply the blood to the Heart and it is Disease of these vessels that mostly contributes to Heart attacks.
- CT images are clearer if your heart rate is low. For this reason, you may be given medication before the scan to lower your Heart rate, further.
- It is preferable if the patient fasts for 2-4 hours before the procedure, as a full stomach, combined with the Contrast Dye may make the Patient feel nauseated.
- If you are taking Glucophage for Diabetes, you should refrain from taking this on the Day of the examination.
- The scan time, in total is 10-15 minutes.
- Once the scan is complete, the patient is monitored for a short while, before being discharged.
- The patient journey, in total, is up to 3 hours.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact the Radiology Department on 091 785630. We advise all patients to contact their insurance provider to check their level of cover in the Galway Clinic.