Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE)
A transthoracic echocardiogram is an ultrasound scan that creates moving pictures of the heart. It allows your doctor to get an information on:
- How well your heart is pumping and relaxing.
- The performance of the valves (structures that let blood flow from one heart chamber to another, or to the vessels).
- The heart's thickness, the sizes of the heart chamber and whether there are any other structural problems.
- Whether there is a congenital heart problem.
- The big vessels around the heart.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Cardiac MRI)
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce images of the heart and structures around it. These high-resolution images are acquired non-invasively and without radiation. Detailed, moving images of the heart, its valves and blood vessels are used to evaluate the anatomy and the function of these structures. Cardiac MRI is used to detect or monitor different cardiac conditions.
Cardiac Computed Tomography (Cardiac CT)
The CT scanner is a special X-ray machine that produces images of your heart and the blood vessels supplying your heart muscle. It is an open, ring-like piece of equipment that resembles a doughnut rather than a tunnel. Within the wall of the upper part of the ring, there is an X-ray tube that beams the X-ray from different angles to be picked up by detectors on the lower part of the ring. The detectors are used to detect the strength of the beams that are emitted from your body. A computer then uses the information from the detectors to produce images of your heart and blood vessels around it.
Transoesophageal Echocardiography (TOE)
A transesophageal echocardiogram is an ultrasound scan without any radiations that creates moving pictures of the heart. A small probe is used to send out high-frequency sound waves. The probe here is a thin tube the size of your index finger. It passes through your mouth, down your throat and into your oesophagus. The oesophagus is very close to the posterior chambers of the heart. This allows clearer images of those heart structures and valves than would be obtained with a standard echocardiogram.
Nuclear myocardial perfusion scan of the heart, also known as nuclear scintigraphy, allows us to assess if the blood supply to your heart muscle is reduced or normal. Images are obtained after a stress test by a camera and the injection of a small dose of a radioisotope agent into your blood stream. It is performed to find out if there is any evidence of blockages of the arteries supplying your heart muscle.
Stress echocardiography is an imaging method to evaluate the heart muscles and the valves during increased activity. There are certain drugs that can be used to induce coronary artery dilation and to increase the workload, such as dobutamine, dipyridamole and adenosine. Exercise stress tests are also available, which are performed on a special stationary bicycle or a treadmill.
The EACVI would like to thank:
- Bernard Cosyns, EACVI President 2020-2022 for initiating and supervising this initiative.
- Sarah Moharem Elgamal for leading this initiative and coordinating all the videos dedicated to patients.
- Ricardo Fontes-Carvalho for coordinating the platform with information about the different imaging exams.
- The EACVI Patient Task Force for providing the leaflets: Gergely Agoston, Lilit Baghdasaryan, Augustin Coisne, Manish Motwani, Caroline Van de Heyning.
- Joao Augusto, Rocio Blanco, Kevin Domingues, Giulia Elena Mandoli, Theo Pezel, Vlatka Reskovic Luksic, Rita Veiga, and Verena Wilzeck, for translating the videos into different languages.
- The ESC Patient Forum for reviewing the videos.
- The Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital for allowing the EACVI to film the interviews within their premises.