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Cardiac Imaging Patient Information


An echocardiogram is an ultrasound scan of the heart which is used to assess heart structure and function. A combination of 2D and 3D technology is used to comprehensively evaluate the heart valves and chambers and blood flow through the heart. The scan is performed by one of our Highly Specialised Cardiac Physiologists or doctors.

Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is performed using an ultrasound probe on your chest wall. It involves lying on your side for approximately 30 minutes. Transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) is performed by inserting the ultrasound probe down your oesophagus (food pipe). This enables a more in-depth assessment of cardiovascular structure and function. It involves fasting before the test, a half day visit to hospital, light sedation. The test itself usually takes approximately 30 minutes and is performed by a doctor, a physiologist and an assistant practitioner.

Stress echocardiography involves an ultrasound scan of your heart before, after and sometimes during exercise or infusion of a medication to speed your heart up. The specifics of the test will be fully explained to you on the day. The test lasts around an hour and is performed by a doctor, a physiologist and an assistant practitioner.

Cardiac CT

A cardiac CT scan uses a small amount of radiation to assess the vessels that supply blood to the heart. This is also called a CT coronary angiogram. We often use state-of-the-art technology called FFR-CT to calculate how much blood is flowing through your coronary arteries. The scan involves inserting a small tube (cannula) into your arm and injecting a small amount of contrast as you pass through the CT scanner. The test takes a few minutes but you may be in the department for up to an hour.

Cardiac MRI

A cardiac MRI scan uses magnetic and radio waves to comprehensively assess your heart structure and function. The scan can also evaluate the blood supply to your heart. The scan involves lying still for up to an hour as you pass through the scanner. It can be quite noisy but you will be offered headphones. In some instances, a small tube (cannula) will be inserted into your arm so that a contrast agent can be injected.