What is coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease (a disease of the cardiac arteries) is the leading cause of morbidity and death in Israel and in the Western world. The disease appears when arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the cardiac muscle are sclerosized and narrowed due to atherosclerotic plaques adhering to their inner wall. These plaques are formed over the course of many years and their development is more rapid in people with various risk factors. Coronary heart disease is a silent, slowly developing disease and it's first manifestation may be in the form of a heart attack or even sudden death. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot occludes a formerly narrowed coronary artery, thus causing interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart muscle. This condition can also cause chest pain (a manifestation of lack of oxygen in the muscle), heart rhythm disturbances and heart failure.
Each year, about 30,000 heart attacks occur in Israel and approximately 4,200 of them are fatal.
The risk of cardiac disease increases proportionally to the existence of several risk factors.
Direct risk factors for cardiac diseases:
Indirect risk factors for cardiac diseases:
- Lack of physical activity
- High homocystein levels
- Severe mental or emotional stress
It has been proven that early diagnosis of coronary heart disease can save lives!
CT examination of the coronary arteries can identify the incidence, location and severity of coronary artery stenoses. Recently, a computerized tomography system was developed that can very rapidly (in approximately 20 seconds) scan the heart in a multitude of very thin sections, less than 1 mm each. Simultaneously with the scanning process an ECG is recorded. The huge amount of collated information is processed by the computer in order to render a sharp and distinct image of the coronary arteries. The examination is non-invasive and is associated with intravenous iodine containing a contrast medium injection, just as in conventional CT examinations.
Course of the examination
During the examination, the patient lies on the CT bed for 20 minutes while his cardiac rhythm is recorded by a monitor. By means of a needle inserted into a forearm vein (similarly to an infusion), the patient is connected to a device (“perfusor”) injecting the contrast medium at a precise and constant rate during the actual scanning procedure, which lasts approximately 20 seconds.
A few minutes after the scan is completed, the patient is free to resume normal activities. The heart CT is a routine examination with few complications, the majority of which are associated with the contrast medium.
Who is this examination designed for?
The examination is intended for people with increased risk of coronary heart disease and for those who suffer from chest pain or from typical angina pectoris symptoms. After you have applied to our CT Institute, a questionnaire will be sent to you, to be filled in and delivered to a cardiologist for a review of whether you are eligible for this examination. An appointment will be made and the examination will be performed by an expert radiologist who has undergone specialization in this field of imaging. The images will be interpreted by a radiologist, who will assess the results together with a cardiology catheterization expert. The next day you will be invited to meet with the consultant cardiologist, and the results will be presented and explained to you. You will also receive a detailed expert opinion from the cardiologist based on your results and including recommendations for further evaluation and treatment. If you suffer from: rhythm disturbances [arrhythmia], renal insufficiency, renal function impairment or severe hypersensitivity to iodine, you will not be eligible to undergo this examination.
Can this examination replace cardiac catheterization?
Only if the result is negative and depending on the consent of the cardiologist who will meet you for a discussion of the results and taking into consideration any other health problems that you may have. Should a significant finding be diagnosed in the CT examination, it is possible that the cardiologist will suggest an additional examination, such as a scintigraphy scan. The reliability of this examination is 85-90% as compared to invasive cardiac catheterization (performed under hospitalization conditions, with a catheter tube introduced into the heart).
For further details and clarifications please call: