CT coronary calcium scoring and CT coronary angiography are techniques now possible with the recent advances in multi-slice CT scanning technology. Using this scanning we are able to take high-resolution 3D images of the moving heart, coronary arteries and great vessels as well as information on the heart muscle and cardiac function. CT offers a less invasive way to evaluate the coronary arteries without the insertion of tubes (catheters) into the body.
The examination is an outpatient procedure and takes about 15-20 minutes. Your heart will be monitored during the scan using ECG leads. To see the arteries it is necessary to inject an x-ray contrast media (dye), this will be done through a needle in a vein in the arm. In preparation for the scan you will be asked not to consume any form of caffeine for 12 hours prior to the study.
Your doctor may prescribe some tablets for you to take prior to your scan in order to slow and regulate your heart rate, these will usually be beta-blockers. This will help to ensure the highest quality images and keep the radiation dose to a minimum. It may be necessary to further slow your heart down during the procedure. A radiologist will do a pre-procedure assessment and administer intra-venous beta-blocker if needed. You will be monitored throughout the procedure and for 45 minutes post procedure.
The scan will be reviewed by a consultant radiologist and the results will be sent to your consultant. If the procedure included the administration of an Intra-Venous beta blocker you will be kept in the department and monitored for 45 minutes post procedure. You will not be able to drive for three hours post procedure or operate heavy machinery for the following 24 hours.
This is a non-invasive diagnostic test for heart disease that is now available at London Bridge Hospital, using data obtained during a CT Coronary Angiogram. This has changed the way cardiologists are able to analyse the impact of blockages on blood flow. CT-FFR, launched by American company HeartFlow Inc., is a revolutionary procedure, which is the first of its kind to provide an accurate assessment of cardiac health without the need for invasive treatment.
The HeartFlow analysis is intended to support the functional evaluation of coronary artery disease in patients with stable chest pain. Coronary artery disease (CAD) can cause the arteries leading to your heart to be narrowed, or pinched, which can dangerously affect blood flow and the functioning of your heart. When diagnosing CAD, physicians rely on many tools.
Today, the HeartFlow Analysis is the only non-invasive tool that can help your doctor to determine both the extent of an artery’s narrowing and any impact it may have on the functioning of the heart. Prior to the availability of this technology a patient would undergo a CT Coronary Angiogram and, if needed, an invasive FFR whereby a tube is inserted into the leg or wrist sending a wire down a coronary artery. Pressure readings are taken to assess the FFR; this can determine whether interventions such as surgery or an angioplasty are required.
The CT-FFR procedure differs in that the CT scan data can be transferred, via cloud technology, to the HeartFlow team, who are able to analyse the data and create a personalised 3D model of the heart and arteries. From there, algorithms are created to assess the impact of blockages on blood flow. The result of this is a colour-coded picture that is used to determine further treatment, which is sent to London Bridge Hospital within 24 hours.
Until now, non-invasive heart tests, such as stress tests, provided us with very little information about chest pain. This led to consultants and doctors having to perform more invasive testing to find a diagnosis for coronary artery disease.
HeartFlow FFRCT Analysis is the first non-invasive diagnostic tool that helps doctors in diagnosing heart disease, by determining how narrow the arteries have become and the impact that this has on blood flow to the heart.
NICE Guidance issued in November 2016 recommends the use of coronary CT angiography (CTA) as a frontline test for any patient whose clinical assessment indicates atypical or atypical chest pain.
Final NICE guidance issued in February 2017 has stated:
“The case for adopting HeartFlow FFRct for estimating fractional flow reserve from coronary CT angiography is supported by the evidence. The technology is non-invasive and safe, and has a high level of diagnostic accuracy.”
To find out more or to book an appointment with a cardiologist, please contact our Appointments Line Team from 8:00am-6:00pm Monday to Friday, on 020 7234 2009 or email