How advanced cardiac imaging services can help those experiencing chest pain or have a family history of heart problems
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Dr Sanjay Banypersad, a consultant cardiologist at Blackburn’s BMI Beardwood Hospital and Spire Manchester, explains how cardiac imaging can help minimise risk to a patient’s health and reduce their chance of experiencing a heart attack in the future.
Q: What is cardiac imaging and how can it help detect heart problems?
A: Cardiac imaging encompasses ultrasound, CT and MRI scans of the heart. We use a CT scan of the heart to capture pictures of the heart’s three major arteries, allowing us to check for blockages and narrowing. It helps us detect problems that could lead to a heart attack.
Through a plastic cannula in the arm, we inject the patient with a dye substance that travels through the body and lights up the coronary arteries, allowing us to see them clearly on the CT scan. we can detect cholesterol build-up and other abnormalities that could affect your long-term health.
We also offer MRI scans of the heart to detect any structural problems affecting the heart chambers that can lead to heart failure, palpitations or blackouts.
Q: Who can use cardiac imaging services?
A: Anyone who’s experiencing tightness or heaviness of the chest, breathlessness, angina, or twinges of chest pain could benefit from having the scan.
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Additionally, if you have diabetes, a family history of heart attacks, or you smoke, you may wish to consider having a heart CT scan which is a low-risk test that can prevent heart attacks from occurring in the next few years.
We can check everything is working as it should and if not recommend the best course of treatment – for example, prescribing medications to help manage anginal symptoms and cholesterol levels, inserting a stent or recommending you for heart bypass surgery.
The cardiac CT scan which is a low-risk test that can prevent heart attacks from occurring in the next few years in certain patients.
Q: Why should I consider booking an appointment privately?
A: There are other ways to detect heart problems, such as stress tests. But the CT scan is the only non-invasive test that will provide a high-resolution picture of the coronary arteries and additionally assesses structures adjacent to the heart. CT scans identify disease earlier than stress tests and have been shown to prevent more heart attacks as a result.
Not all NHS hospitals in the region offer this service, meaning you may need to travel further away to another hospital that does, which can be difficult and inconvenient to arrange.
It will also help you avoid lengthy waiting times. Within a week of your first clinical consultation with me, I can book you in for your CT scan.
Q: Must I have a clinical consultation before my scan?
A: Yes, because it is important to ensure you are suitable for the CT scan. For example, if you suffer from asthma, kidney problems or an irregular heartbeat this can affect our ability to get a clear picture of the heart.
I’ll use the consultation to determine your suitability, this can be done in person or over the phone. However, if you have already had a recent consultation with another Cardiologist, then a further consultation is not usually necessary.
Dr Banypersad is a leading consultant cardiologist who provides services at hospitals throughout the North West. He specialises in advanced cardiac imaging services.