Better technology in cardiac magnetic resonances imaging (MRI) and cardiac computed tomography (CT) allows physicians to get a closer view of the heart. Among the newest advances is the 64-slice cardiac CT, a revolutionary heart scan for diagnosing conditions of the heart and blood vessels. This method is an innovative alternative to invasive tests such as cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography. It is less invasive and more comfortable for the patient, while also providing a procedure that is faster than traditional CT scans, thereby helping to reduce X-ray exposure.
The advanced cardiac CT scanner rotates around your body and quickly takes cross-section images (slices) of your heart, each covering slightly more than a half-millimeter in width. These digital images are then compiled to form a detailed three-dimensional picture of your heart, arteries, veins and aorta. The detailed results of a 64-slice cardiac CT scan are used for detecting and diagnosing many different conditions, particularly in patients who have had other tests with inconclusive results.
A number of relevant conditions can be diagnosed through cardiac CT:
- Presence and levels of calcium in coronary arteries
- Coronary artery disease that is significant enough to affect circulation
- Artery blockage or patency (openings that interfere with proper blood flow)
- Physical defects of the heart, including masses
- Presence of congenital heart disease in adults
- Aortic dissection (a tear in the wall of the aorta) and blood clots in the lungs
- Heart rhythm disorders
Physicians at Houston Methodist work with each individual patient to ensure that a cardiac CT, as well as any other diagnostic process, is put to best use to discover any potential disorders.