When Do You Need Heart Imaging? You must have often come across the term heart imaging in word-of-mouth these days! You may already have an idea that heart imaging is nothing but a diagnostic test in medical science that looks into the structures and functions of your heart and subsequently identifies abnormalities.
But do you know when you need heart imaging, why you need it, and what are the various types you can avail of?
No worries! This blog can help you unfold it all! Remember that this awareness can help you, me, and all of us to rule out heart disease at its early stage, thereby securing a greater life expectancy!
Overview: What Is Heart Imaging?
Also called cardiac imaging or cardiovascular imaging, this diagnostic study involves state-of-the-art scanner machines to screen heart conditions. Perhaps, heart imaging is a broader term defining the multiple scanning techniques that exist today to see your heart, blood vessels, and surrounding soft tissues.
These scans are either non-invasive or minimally invasive and, thus, do not cause you any pain. Radiology labs are where these scans take place under the supervision of a radiologist. Typically, they are performed outpatient and do not require you to take any admission for a stay.
What Are The Uses Of Heart Imaging?
Doctors use heart imaging for various medical pursuits. They are as follows!
Detecting A Heart Disease
The first use of heart imaging is, of course, disease detection. With this imaging study, doctors measure the size and shape of your heart, see how well it pumps blood, locate abnormal masses and blood clots, and thereafter detect a wide range of diseases, if any!
Monitoring An Existing Heart Disease
Doctors use heart imaging as a part of your routine checkup when you have an existing heart problem, whether it is a tumor, valve leakage, or congenital heart disease. Such a disease management action on the part of healthcare professionals nowadays can help curb heart problems from becoming severe.
Monitoring Blood Flow
Indeed, one of the most salient utilities of heart imaging is blood flow monitoring. It can measure blood flow through the different chambers, thereby introspecting on the cardiac functions, motion, and perfusion. This helps the doctor to assess the severity of emergencies, like heart failure or stroke.
Guiding Another Invasive Test Or Treatment
Heart imaging studies serve to plan and regulate diagnostic interventions, such as a cancer biopsy. These scans even help doctors plan and regulate treatment for your heart problems, especially radiation therapies and chemotherapies for cancer.
Checking Responses to A Treatment Course
Doctors also use heart imaging tests to see whether a particular treatment course, surgical or medication administration, has worked positively on you. For instance, doctors commonly ask for a heart scan to see if any scar tissue from a cancer removal surgery is still present; also to look into your heart rhythms after a medical therapy to treat atrial fibrillation (uneven heartbeat).
When Do Doctors Recommend A Heart Imaging?
- Do you experience severe and persistent chest pain (or discomfort), heartburn, and/or neck pain for the last few days?
- Are you throwing up frequently these days?
- Do you have extreme body weakness and fatigue?
- Did you go through shortness of breath a couple of times shortly?
- Do you cough or wheeze constantly and feel like it’s getting worse?
- Can you see your ankles swelling up, accompanied by pain in the arms, legs, back, and jaws?
- Did you witness a choking sensation anytime soon?
- Do you sweat absurdly nowadays?
Well! They are the alerts! They indicate a heart disease underlying! So, doctors, on finding one or more of such signs, recommend heart imaging to precisely learn about your heart problem and pick the suitable treatment plan.
Why Do Doctors Recommend A Heart Imaging?
Doctors order heart imaging to screen a vast array of heart problems, such as –
- Damage to the heart valves,
- Structural anomalies in your heart,
- Blood clots within the heart chambers,
- Coronary heart disease,
- Peripheral artery disease,
- Aortic disease,
- Heart failure,
- Arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythms), and more!
5 Significant Methods Of Heart Imaging: Take Heed!
The list of heart imaging studies constitutes numerous modalities and more with continuous advances in medical technologies! However, the most prevalent and significant ones go below.
Cardiac or Heart X-rays are one of the common heart imaging methods to screen for heart diseases. It is a non-specific terminology but mostly refers to a chest X-ray. Chest X-ray is the nuclear imaging modality that involves a machine producing radioactive rays and a plate that generates the internal image digitally on a computer screen.
Heart CT (Computed Tomography)
A Heart CT scan is similar to an X-ray process, but, in this case, a series of X-ray beams attached to the walls of a scanner work to create two-dimensional images of your heart from different angles. This heart imaging is far more accurate than a traditional X-ray and can easily detect complex heart abnormalities that do not show up in chest X-ray scans.
Heart US (Ultrasound)
Heart Ultrasound, also known as an Echocardiogram, is the heart imaging process where high-frequency sound waves lay used to produce real-time images of your heart and nearby blood vessels. It is a safer process, compared to an X-ray or CT scan, as it does not expose your body to radiation. Doctors use this alternative, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women, diabetes patients, and children.
Heart MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Heart MRIs are the gold-standard imaging tests for complex heart diseases. They can show what an X-ray, CT, or ultrasound cannot! They involve powerful magnets and computer-generated radio waves in the cross-sectional image extraction process! In fact, MRIs do not include radiation, yet they can ensure greater clarity to the soft tissue visuals. Perhaps, the best method to detect heart cancer at its earliest!
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan of the Heart
Doctors use PET scans of the heart to assess the organ’s metabolic functions at the cellular level. It means PET scans are functional heart imaging that shows whether the heart cells have high cellular metabolism, and if they do so, it affirms the existence of a heart abnormality. The scan entails radioactive tracers to create the imaging.
Concluding Remark: Doctors recommend a definite heart imaging based on various factors, from your symptom and medical history to an estimated balance between the risks and benefits of each scan. Whenever you see a sign of a heart problem, as you are already aware by now, see a doctor and follow the given instructions.
Did your doctor ask for any heart imaging study? If so, make a quick move to book discounted appointments from a NABL-accredited lab in Chandigarh at www.mrichandigarh.com and get your scan done seamlessly on your schedule!