Information for Physicians
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Cardiovascular CT Imaging

With the advent of modern CT scanners that have a wide detector array (many slices) and a fast gantry rotation speed, CT is able to provide coronary angiography in an office setting in less that 1 hour. This information often obviates the need to go to the cath lab, providing specific information regarding lesion severity. As important as that is, CT is unique in its ability to assess the degree of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries. CARI is proud to have the only office based 64-slice CT scanner in Rhode Island and one with the fastest gantry speed available today.

Computer-generated image of a heart

  • Coronary Artery Calcium Score (CAC)

    The Coronary Calcium Score (CAC) is the MOST powerful predictor of future events and adds a 10-fold power to the traditional Framingham Heart Score assessment (family history, lipids, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and obesity). It is particularly useful in those with intermediate risk as assessed by traditional risk factor analysis such as the AHA Risk Factor Self Assessment Test and can help identify those that need more aggressive risk factor modification. For many patients, A picture of coronary calcium deposits is worth a thousand words. The test takes less than 15 minutes, requires no special preparation, no dye injection and requires a modest dose of radiation.

  • Coronary CT Angiography (Coronary CTA)

    Coronary arteries are small and move almost constantly, increasing the challenge of imaging them with CT. Modern scanners have multidetector arrays, allowing for covering larger areas of the body along the long axis and the faster rotation speeds decrease the shutter speed, allowing for freezing of motion. Sub millimeter resolution has allowed for the assessment of coronary stenoses with high accuracy, using an intravenous injection of dye in less than 1 hour. The radiation exposure is similar to that for an abdominal or chest CT with contrast. Optimization of results requires a regular and controlled heart rate (ideally around 60 per min often requiring the administration of beta blockers). There is no recovery necessary.

  • Peripheral CT Angiography (CTA)

    Modern CT scanners with multidetector rows and fast gantry speeds allow for angiography of a large area of the body with one injection of dye and one imaging study. For example, it is possible to cover the abdominal aorta and the entire lower limb circulation. The resolution is superb and the powerful 3D reconstruction workstations permit precise evaluation of measurements facilitating interventions or surgery. Radiation exposure and the use of iodinated dye involve the same risk and preparation (fasting, etc) as with other x-ray angiography.
Southcoast Physicians Group An affiliate of Southcoast Physicians Group.