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What You Need to Know About Imaging Tests for Heart Disease

Medical imaging tests are used to both diagnose heart disease and monitor its progression. Your cardiologist may recommend imaging tests to determine what part of your heart is damaged, to evaluate how well your current treatment plan is working, and to see if your condition is getting worse. There are a number of different imaging tests that can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, from X-rays to MRI scans in San Antonio. Here are some of the medical imaging exams you might undergo in your treatment for heart disease. heart - disease

Chest X-Rays

A chest X-ray is a painless test that uses a small amount of radiation to create an image of the organs and bones in your chest cavity, including your heart. Your doctor may order a chest X-ray if he or she suspects you have congenital heart disease, an enlarged heart, or blood vessel problems. A chest X-ray can also be used to identify calcium and plaque buildup in your blood vessels and heart that can increase your risk of having a heart attack. If you have a pacemaker or other heart device, then your doctor may also order an X-ray to make sure it is in the right place.

Cardiac CT Scan

A CT scan—or computed tomography—is used to create a 3D image of your heart. It is primarily used to find or monitor the presence of calcium deposits within plaque in the heart and arteries. It allows your doctor to diagnose atherosclerosis, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, before any symptoms begin, so that you can begin treatment early. CT scans can also be used to see if calcium deposits are increasing or if they are being adequately controlled by your current treatment plan. The test is painless, except for minor discomfort some patients experience when they receive an injection of contrast dye before the test.

Cardiac MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, tests use a magnetic field and radio waves to create a detailed image of the structures of the heart. They can be used to determine how well the different components of the heart are functioning and to monitor the progression of heart disease. They can also be used to see if the treatments being used for your heart disease are effective.