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Diagnostic Imaging

Sub-specialist expertise delivered on-site by the Mater Private Radiology Department, including  X-Ray, MRI, CT, Dexa and Ultrasound. Access to imaging on the same day as consultation and treatment planning.

Cardiac MRI – Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging

A Cardiac MRI is a specialised scan, creating detailed moving images of the heart.
Heart symptoms often occur when you are active e.g. walking, climbing stairs, or exercise.  The aim of this test is to see how well blood supplies the heart muscle when your heart is coping with extra exercise or ‘stress’.
The MRI scanner works using the combination of a powerful magnetic field forces and computing power. It doesn’t involve the use of radiation such as X-rays.

Preparing for my scan

Prior to arranging the MRI scan, because the scanner is a ‘magnet’, you will need to let us know if you have:

  • a pacemaker / defibrillator.
  • ever had any metal fragments in your eyes.
  • any implants or surgical clips in your body or head.
  • ever had an operation on your head, eyes, ears, heart or chest.
  • any concerns that you are pregnant.
  • had an operation in the last 6 weeks.
  • a cochlear implant.
  • asthma.
  • any kidney issues.
 
24 hours before your MRI - do not to drink or eat anything that contains caffeine.

Caffeine is a stimulant and may invalidate the rests of the tests. Caffeine is found primarily in tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and chocolate. There are also traces of caffeine in decaffeinated teas, green teas and coffees, so these must also be avoided. All chocolate products have caffeine, including ice cream and hot drinks. It is best to drink only water and fruit juices for these 24 hours. If you are in any doubt as to whether something contains caffeine, please do not consume it. Otherwise, you may eat normally.

During my scan

On arrival, you will change into a hospital gown and complete a safety questionnaire. The MRI scan will be explained, and any questions will be answered.

A plastic cannula (needle) will be insert into a vein in your arm, which will be used to give you the MRI contrast agent dye (a colourless liquid) and, in some cases, a heart stimulating medication during the scan. An ECG may also be carried out.

Once ready to proceed, you will then go into the scanner room and lie down on the MRI scanner table. During the examination, you heart will be monitored by ECG; your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels will also be measured.

During the scan, the table will be moved into the centre of the MRI. You will hear a rhythmic tapping sound which may become quite loud. This is normal and you will be given headphones to protect your ears from the noise.

The radiographer operating the scanner can see and speak to you at all times. You will be able to hear them over the speaker and they will let you know when you to hold your breath. A breath hold will be for up to about 20 seconds. You will be given a call button to alert the staff if you need to speak to them at any time to let them know how you are feeling or if you have a problem.

After my scan

Once the scan is complete, the cannula will be removed. You should have no aftereffects from this examination. You may eat and drink normally and you can return to regular activities.
Your MRI scan pictures will be interpreted by a specialist and the results will be sent to the doctor who referred you.

Are there any risks?

No short-term harmful effects have been found from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. The use of magnetic fields is not thought to be harmful; however, long term side effects are unknown.
If you have a cardiac pacemaker, metal fragments in your eyes or brain aneurysmal clips you may not be able to have a MRI because of the magnetic fields in use.

The heart stimulating drug used during the scan can occasionally cause electrical or rhythm problems and/or chest pain or tightness. You might also feel flushed, have a headache, or become short of breath, as you would if you were exercising. These effects usually last only a short time and our staff are fully trained to look after you if you feel these effects.

You will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein and will likely have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast material. There is a small risk of bruising around the injection site in the arm.
There is a very small risk of allergy or side effects from the injection of the MRI contrast agent, but this is extremely rare. These are usually mild and may include a metallic taste, itchy skin, pain at the injection site and feeling lightheaded. Headache and chest pain are rare.

If you do experience any side effects, please inform the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) staff immediately.
 
 
A Cardiac MRI usually takes between 45 and 60 minutes. With preparation and changing afterwards you can expect to be in department from 1.5 to 2 hours.

A CT scan is used to create multiple detailed images of internal organs, bones, soft tissues and blood vessels. CT is a fast, painless and non-invasive type of imaging. The CT scanner is like the MRI but with a shorter tube and is substantially less noisy.

What happens during my scan?

CT exams are generally painless, fast and easy.

With our multi-detector CT, the amount of time that you need to lie still or hold your breath for is reduced.

During the scan the radiographer will always be able to see you through the viewing window, talk to you and hear you.

With modern CT scanners, you will hear only slight buzzing, clicking and whirring sounds as the scanner's internal parts are working away.

Some CT exams will require the use of a contrast dye to provide further definition to an area. This is usually injected via an intravenous line in your hand or arm.

CTA - Computed Tomography Angiography 

A CTCA is a scan of the heart creating multiple detailed images of the coronary arteries. It is a combination of CT scanning using X-ray and iodine-rich contrast material (dye). It is performed to identify narrow, blocked, enlarged or malformed arteries without the need for conventional invasive angiography.
 
Preparing for my scan


You do not need to fast however you should avoid drinking caffeine and smoking from midnight prior to the scan. If on medication, take your tablets as normal.
This scan should not be performed in pregnancy. Women of childbearing age should have this scan performed within 10 days of commencement of their menstrual cycle.

During my scan

On arrival at the radiology department, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and complete a safety questionnaire. Your scan will be explained, and any questions will be answered.

A plastic cannula (needle) will be inserted into a vein in your arm, which will be used to give you the CT contrast agent dye (a colourless liquid). An ECG may also be carried out.
You may require beta-blocker medication (tablet) to slow your heart rate before the scan. This will be given to you on the day.

Once ready to progress, you will go into the scanner room and lie down on the CT scanner table. During the examination, you heart will be monitored by ECG; your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels will also be measured.

During the scan, the scanner table will be moved into the CT scanner. There will be a loud rhythmic “whooshing” sound, which is normal. Any medication or dye needed will be given during the scan via the cannula.

After my scan

Your cannula will be removed. You should have no aftereffects from this examination. You may eat and drink normally after the examination and you can return to normal activities immediately after the scan.
The CTCA images are jointly read by a team of Radiology and Cardiology Consultants at the Mater Private Hospital. Your scan will be interpreted, and a complete report sent directly to your referring doctor.

Are there any risks?

As with any X-ray test the benefits of detection, diagnosis and treatment resulting from the examination should outweigh any potential risk. Of note, the amount of radiation received during coronary CT approximates routine body CT or conventional invasive coronary angiogram.

We are all exposed to natural background radiation every day. Medical x-ray radiation contributes a small additional dose on top of natural background radiation. At all times we endeavour to keep patient radiation dose as low as possible and to perform only tests that are medically justified.

You will feel a pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein and may feel a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast material. There is a small risk of bruising around the injection site.
Some patients report a metallic taste in their mouth that lasts a minute or two related to the dye injection. Others feel the need to urinate; however, it is only a sensation and subsides quickly.
 
 
The scanning time is approximately 15 seconds. In total you can expect to be department for approximately 1 hour.

A DEXA scan provides a direct measurement of bone density. It is used to assess the strength of your bones and evaluate the risk of bones breaking.

It is a fast, accurate and painless scan, with an extremely low dose of radiation.

DEXA scans help to diagnose or assess the risk of developing bone-related health problems, such as osteoporosis.

What happens during my scan?

You will be lying on an examination bed. 

A large scanning 'arm' will pass over and above your body. 

It moves slowly and you won't feel any sensations.

It  is a very straightforward process.

An MRI examination generates extremely detailed internal images using magnetic fields and radio waves. 

The MRI scanner looks doughnut which the bed moves in and out of, as required by your particular scan.
Our particular scanner is wider than average and open at both ends, making it a more pleasant and less claustrophobic experience.

What happens during my test?

The exam itself is painless but the machine is noisy.

Before the exam we will go through an extensive checklist as it is really important to ensure that any metal is removed safely before we start - an mri is essentially a huge magnet. 

To drown out the noise, we can give you earphones and play music  – we have a huge range of music; pick anything from relaxation to banging rock to the latest hits. Just remember you will need to keep still at certain times, so trying not to move to the beat!

During the exam, the MRI radiographer will always be able to see you through the viewing window, talk to you and hear you.

There are many types of MRI scans, most of which last approximately half an hour but occasionally some can last for up to one hour.

An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body. The most common x-rays are of bones, chest and the abdomen.

What happens during my test?

You will be positioned lying down, sitting or standing – depending on the x-ray to be taken.

In some cases you may have to hold your breath for a few seconds.

X-rays are generally painless, and you don't feel any sensation.

It takes just a few minutes.

Ultrasound (sometimes called a sonogram) uses high-frequency sound waves to create internal images.

Although commonly associated with pregnancy, ultrasound covers a much broader range of diagnostic examinations such as abdominal, breast, pelvic, renal, vascular, testicular and more.

An ultrasound can be internal or external, depending on the images required.

  Mater Private -
Cherrywood
Mater Private -
Northen Cross
X-ray
Ultrasound
MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging
DEXA - Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry  
CT - Computed Tomography  
CTA - Computed Tomography Angiography  
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