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Cardiac computed tomography (CT) angiography

a quick non-invasive test that uses x-rays

CT scanner used by the cardiology team at Guy's and St Thomas'.  
Image courtesy of Siemens Healthcare

What is cardiac CT?

Cardiac (heart) CT helps to:

  • evaluate the coronary arteries non-invasively. Coronary CT angiography is generally considered best for individuals with symptoms but no prior history of coronary artery disease or who have unclear findings from a stress test.
  • diagnose a variety of cardiovascular (heart and/or blood vessel) disorders such as congenital abnormalities, heart valve  or coronary artery problems. It is also now used extensively to determine suitability for various structural interventions (link to page).
  • plan a patient's treatment for cardiovascular disorders
  • evaluate a patient's risk of developing heart conditions over time such as furring up of the heart arteries.

Using cardiac CT, doctors can:

  • evaluate the size of the heart chambers
  • detect the buildup of plaque and blockages of plaque and blockages in blood vessels
  • evaluate the suitability for structural interventions
  • assess suitability for heart surgery and to assess the heart following surgery.

The Cardiac CT service at Guy's and St Thomas'

The team currently consists of:

  • Dr Rebecca Preston - Radiology Lead for Cardiac CT
  • Dr Ronak Rajani - Cardiology Lead for Cardiac CT
  • Dr Arjun Nair - Consultant Radiologist
  • Dr Eric Woo - Consultant Radiologist
  • Mr Paul Woodburn - Superinterdent radiographer
  • Mrs Amanda Woodburn - Superinterdent radiolographer
  • Mr Dan Hodson - Cardiac CT specialist radiolographer

Our facilities and services

We have one of the largest CT departments in London.

The department features:

  • an ethos for low radiation dose and high quality scans
  • 2 dedicated Philips 256 multidector scanners
  • 2 Siemens Force CT scanners (arrival in 2016)
  • 1200 scans per annum
  • international expertise in structural intervention planning
  • research collaborations with other cardiac CT centres in Europe and the USA
  • international CT training academy jointly hosted in conjunction with Philips healthcare
  • recognised European training centre for Cardiac CT by the European Assocaition of Cardiovascular Imaging
  • one of the largest cardiac CT research programs in London
  • provide tertiary (specialist) cardiac CT services for hospitals in the South East of England

Information for patients

Your doctor may commence you on some medication to take before your appointment to improve the quality of your scan. You should avoid caffeine on the morning of your scan. Upon arrival to the CT department your blood pressure and heart rate will be checked and a small needle (cannula) will be placed in your arm. Once you are ready for your scan, you will be asked to lie on your back on the CT scanner which is donut shaped. After some quick planning scans, you will be requested to hold your breath in for the duration of the scan (less than 10 seconds). The total time of the scan is usually less than ten minutes. On occassion, if we have given you medications during your scan, you may be requested to wait a short while in the department before going home.

Most referrals are tertiary (from another hospital) with patients already having been assessed in a general cardiology clinic or the rapid access chest pain clinic.

Enquiries may be made to Dr Ronak Rajani.