Tremendous advances in imaging technology have brought great changes to
cardiovascular care. Here at Torrance Memorial, we are proud to offer
the newest and most advanced diagnostic technology to identify heart disease
at its earlier and most treatable stages. With our state-of-the-art imaging
tools we can discover problems that just a few years ago were undetectable
using conventional methods of diagnosis.
Advanced Technology to Detect Heart Disease In Its Earliest, Most Treatable Stages
The Torrance Memorial Cardiovascular Imaging program offers the full array
of imaging technology to diagnose heart disease, plan optimal care for
patients, and ensure that treatment is complete. We also use these diagnostic
studies for pre-surgical planning to minimize complications during many
types of catheter-based procedures and heart surgery.
Cardiac Computed Tomography (CT)
A cardiac CT scan measures the coronary artery calcium "score."
This is a non-invasive way of obtaining information about the location
and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries, the vessels that
supply blood to the heart muscle. Plaque is a build-up of fat and other
substances, including calcium, which can, over time, narrow the arteries
or even close off blood flow to the heart. The result may be painful angina
in the chest or a heart attack. Because calcium is a marker of coronary
artery disease, the amount of calcium detected on a cardiac CT scan is
a helpful diagnostic marker.
Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA)
A computerized tomography coronary angiogram (CCTA) is a non-invasive way
to examine the health of the arteries that supply your heart muscle with
blood. Taking just seconds, a CT angiogram involves injection of an IV
contrast dye that helps produce highly detailed images of your heart and
blood vessels. Often this test eliminates the need for a coronary angiogram,
a more invasive and lengthy procedure which requires sedation, a catheter
inserted into your groin, and a longer period of recovery. At Torrance
Memorial, we have dedicated radiologists with specialized training and
certification to interpret this type of CT scan.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Cardiac MRI (CMRI) is a noninvasive, radiation-free diagnostic test that
allows doctors to obtain detailed images of the heart and adjacent structures.
Cardiac MRI is helpful in diagnosing heart disease, heart attack, scarring,
tumors and valvular diseases. Cardiac MRI can also be used to study abnormalities
of the blood vessels arising from the heart and to measure blood flow
through the aorta and aortic valve.
Cardiac Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
A cardiac PET study evaluates blood flow to the heart and is also used
to evaluate damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack. A small amount
of radioactive tracer is injected into a vein. A special camera, called
a gamma camera, finds the radiation and uses it to produce computer images
of the heart. This test can help evaluate whether there is enough blood
flow to the heart during activity.
A nuclear stress test lets doctors see pictures of your heart while you
are resting and shortly after you have exercised. The test provides information
about the size of the heart's chambers, how well the heart is pumping
blood, and whether the heart has any damaged or dead muscle. Nuclear stress
tests can also give doctors information about your arteries and whether
they are narrowed or blocked because of coronary artery disease.
How Will You Learn About Your Results?
The technologist will not give you the test results directly, as the images
still need to be reviewed by a radiologist. After reviewing the study,
the radiologist will send an official report to your physician, who can
then discuss the results with you.