The Virtual Catheter Lab
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease causing angina and heart attacks remains a major cause of mortality and a common cause of chest symptoms. Until recently invasive coronary angiography was required to diagnose this potentially lethal heart disease. Using the latest technology combined with our Cardiology/Radiology MDT approach termed "The Guildford protocol" many of our patients avoid invasive angiography by having a Cardiac CT angiogram instead. Where necessary additional functional tests such as CT-FFR, Stress ECG, CMRI and DSE provide our referring Cardiologists with all the information they need to decide whether to schedule an invasive Coronary angiogram and/or coronary intervention. If tested positive in our Virtual Catheter lab we can then arrange an invasive angiogram and coronary intervention at one of our centres of excellence.
Invasive angiography requires hospital admission, use of an Interventional catheter laboratory, arterial puncture and involves small risks of serious complications thus should ideally be used to confirm non invasive findings and the diagnosis before treatment of any serious narrowing by fitting a stent- a small tubular lining or scaffold used to hold a blocked coronary artery open (an example is shown above).
Because both coronary angiography and functional assessment can now be acquired by non-intrusive CT imaging, with results presented to the Cardiologist using our 'Virtual catheter lab', it is possible to identify more accurately which patients require admission to hospital for coronary revascularisation.
Cardiac CT Angiography (CCTA)
Is a non-invasive X-ray test that is generally more sensitive and safer for people to have than an invasive angiogram. Referrals are checked by our Cardiologist and then scheduled at one of our advanced CCT centres. It combines a coronary calcium score with contrast angiography producing a 3D reconstruction of the coronary arteries that can be viewed on any computer screen. Capable of detecting problems many years before symptoms develop CCTA is our most sensitive method for diagnosing narrowed arteries as well as the beginnings of 'furring up' due to cholesterol.
CT Fractional Flow reserve (CT FFR) a service provided by www.Heartflow.com
If our Cardiac CT angiogram shows a possible stenosis requiring further evaluation and image quality is sufficient, SCVC can arrange a CT-FFR using the same CT Data providing additional information about whether such coronary narrowing requires a stent.