“Heart disease” is an umbrella term that includes several conditions, including heart attack, cardiac arrest, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and congenital heart diseases. The most common of these is coronary artery disease, a blocked or narrowed coronary artery that supplies your heart with blood. But the clinical manifestations of heart disease and heart failure vary enormously, depending on a variety of factors.
Sounds like a lot of potential for heart trouble, right?
There are several imaging technologies in place to help prevent, diagnose, track and treat heart diseases, and help you live your best life.
Computed tomography scans are X-rays that are processed by computers to produce visual cross-sections of specific areas of the body, like your heart. Cardiac CT scans can produce images that reveal whether or not you have a coronary disease. Working at fast speed, the scan to virtually freeze the heart’s motion, and gives physicians a 3-D view of your heart and blood vessels, enabling an accurate assessment of plaque and blockages in the coronary arteries.
Position emission tomography is a technique that also produces 3-D images, but it shows the chemical functioning of your organs and tissues, revealing the health of the vessels supplying blood to your heart, heart muscle and surrounding tissue. PET is particularly useful for the detection of coronary artery disease (the most common of the heart diseases). When PET and CT work together, images can pinpoint the location of abnormal metabolic activity, providing a more accurate diagnosis.
Magnetic resonance imaging uses a technology called nuclear magnetic resonance to visualize internal structures of the body in detail. It uses a large magnet and radiofrequency waves to produce high-quality images of the heart. MRIs can show images of the heart and blood vessels from different angles to create moving images of the heart throughout its beating cycle.