Heart Vision

FAQ for Patients

Can I take my medications before my appointment?

Yes, apart from Cialis, Viagra or Levitra, you can continue to take all other medications as usual before your appointment.


How long will I need to allow for my appointment?

We ask patients to allow up to two hours for their appointments; however you may be finished within an hour. Occasionally we require patients to take one or two beta blocker pills to steady their heart rate, which means your appointment will take around two hours. We do ask that you don't book other appointments or flights directly after your appointments in the event you are delayed.


What can I expect during the appointment?

Please hand in your consent form and questionnaire when you arrive at reception. You'll then meet with a radiographer who will discuss the paperwork you've filled in and explain the procedure in detail.  This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have of the procedure. You will then get changed into a gown and come through to the scan room.

We then ask you to lie down while we attach ECG lead to your chest - it may take a few minutes for the scanner to synchronise with your heart beat. An IV line will be attached to your arm with a small amount of contrast injected as a test and we will practice breathing exercises during this time.

We will then give you a puff of GTN (Nitrolingual spray) under the tongue to relax the coronary arteries and give you more contrast. You will feel a warm sensation and a metallic smell or taste as the contrast flows throughout your body, which is normal. The scan will then be performed which takes about 10 to 12 seconds and we will ask you to hold your breath during the scan.

At any time we may find that the heart rate is not in the range we would ideally like and we may give you a beta blocker (small tablets) to settle your heart rate. We then wait an hour for the heart rate to settle, before checking that your blood pressure is in a good range to continue with the scan.

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What does the scanner look like?

The CT scanner (pictured at the top of the page) is not a fully-enclosed scanning machine like the one used for MRI scans. It is round and hollow and you can see out from it at any stage. A radiographer will be with you in the scan room at all times apart from the 10-12 seconds during the scan. Please let us know in advance if you are claustrophobic or would like to come in and see the machine prior to your appointment. We are more than happy to show you the machine before your appointment and answer any questions you have about the scan.

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When can I expect my scan results?

Please allow up to two weeks for the results of your CT cardiac scan. Results will be sent directly to your referrer, so please liaise with them. 

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What is a CT scan of the coronaries?

CT scanning is a relatively new way of looking at the coronary arteries, the traditional test being a coronary angiogram. Heart Vision has one of the most advanced CT scanners currently available. The main advantage of a coronary CT scan is that it is relatively non-invasive so you can go home shortly after the procedure.

Unlike a coronary angiogram, which requires admission to hospital for a needle to be inserted into an artery in your groin, a CT scan uses X-rays and simply involves a needle in your arm that injects contrast to show the coronary arteries in more detail.

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What are the risks involved in CT cardiac scanning?




Very rarely people experience an allergic reaction to the contrast (dye). This usually manifests as an itchy rash, which settles down by itself. Asthmatic patients may experience worsening of their asthma shortly after the injection, so if you are taking any inhalers for your asthma, you should bring these with you. You will be asked some questions at the time of booking that will determine if we require you to have a blood test prior to your appointment, but please let us know if you have any kidney problems or diabetes.

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