Short Series: The Insight - CT
Welcome to part one of the Lake Imaging Short Series - The Insight.
The aim of this short series is to inform patients on scans they may be required to have, making their time at Lake Imaging the as comfortable as possible while in the hands of our expert and professional staff.
Our staff are one of our best assets. We endeavour to give you the upmost care during your time at one of our clinics. A short profile on one of our health professionals will also be included in each part of the series so you can begin to appreciate the talented team we have here at Lake Imaging.
Part 1: Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed tomography (CT) is a highly versatile and non-invasive medical imaging procedure that uses x-rays and digital computer technology to create detailed two or three-dimensional images of the body. Unlike some other forms of medical imaging, CT can image many types of body structure simultaneously including bone, blood vessels and soft tissue.
What does a CT look like?
The CT scanner consists of a large gantry (a supporting structure) with a circular hole (which is why some people like to describe the CT scanner as a 'donut' shape), within which the patient lies on a moving examination table.
Inside the gantry is a rotating ring that carries the x-ray source and electronic x-ray detectors. A narrow fan beam of x-rays is produced and directed through the body area that is to be examined. These x-rays are received by a set of detectors and the resulting signals are sent to a very powerful computer that transforms them into three-dimensional cross sectional images.
CT in Focus - Lake Imaging Cardiac Imaging.
Cardiac CT imaging is just one of many services Lake Imaging specialises in to give your Cardiologist and GP the most accurate diagnosis.
You can have peace of mind that you will be in expert hands when having a cardiac CT at Lake Imaging.
At Lake Imaging we have an expert team of reporting Radiologists. Dr. Tony French is one of our cardiac imaging experts and in November 2016, he provided an educational webinar on the topic of Coronary Calcium Scoring to GPs across Victoria.
Two Cardiac CT examinations your Cardiologist or GP may refer you to Lake Imaging for are:
CT Coronary Angiography:
CT Coronary Angiography (CTCA) is a specialized form of CT scanning used to take images of the coronary arteries of the heart.
These arteries supply blood to the heart muscle and disease of these vessels (atherosclerosis) is responsible for most heart attacks.
Upon booking your CTCA with Lake Imaging, you will be given (or mailed out) a copy of preparation guidelines and a consultation with one of our nursing staff who will go through what you need to know about your up and coming examination.
In some cases, you may be given beta-blocking medication from your referring Cardiologist or GP to help slow down your heart rate and produce clearer images for our Radiologists to report on. A CT Coronary Calcium Score is also included in this examination by our Radiologist at no extra cost, in order to further analyse your cardiac risk factor.
For more information on CTCA examinations, please refer to our dedicated webpage, or click here.
CT Coronary Calcium Scoring:
Coronary artery disease is a leading cause of death in Australia, so determining which patients are at risk of coronary artery disease, is an important consideration. Calcium in the coronary arteries almost always indicates arterial disease or atherosclerotic plaque. Cardiac risk factors and insulin resistance also contribute to coronary artery calcification.
Coronary artery calcium scoring (CACS) is a non-invasive test that estimates the amount of coronary artery plaque, by assessing the extent of coronary artery calcification using high-resolution 64-slice or 128-slice CT. While a calcium score of ‘zero’ does not rule out arterial disease, there is a low likelihood of significant coronary blockage. A high calcium score correlates with a moderate to high risk of a coronary event, or heart attack, within two to five years.
CACS has a high negative predictive value (up to 98%), which means if your calcium score is low then this correlates very well with you having a low risk of coronary artery disease. Coronary artery calcium scanning is not as useful in patients who have a low or very high risk, or in those with known coronary artery disease.
Possible reasons for requesting CACS include:
- Screening asymptomatic patients
- Screening patients with intermediate risk of coronary artery disease
- Presence of one risk factor such as hypertension
- Strong family history of early coronary artery disease
Patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease could have high calcium scores, which might not correlate with significant coronary artery disease.
For more information on the CACS examination, please click here.
Profile: Edel Doyle
Position: CT Supervisor - Geelong
Edel studied Radiography in University College, Dublin (Ireland).
She then went on to do a Masters (MSc) in Forensic Medicine in UCD. This increased her awareness of the medico-legal aspects of both medicine and radiography. With the support of the teaching hospital whilst working in Dublin, Edel spent 18 months doing a MSc in Computed Tomography (CT). This is the only full-time CT postgraduate course in the world and gave Edel an excellent grounding in CT theory along with 4 days per week in clinical experience, and a semester of Advanced CT which included cardiac imaging.
She then completed a MSc in Forensic Radiography at Teeside University (UK). One of the most useful courses Edel has completed was a Postgraduate Certificate in Image Interpretation - as it helped her to be more confident when reviewing x-rays for patients who have had a recent injury.
Edel's Career Pathway:
Edel initially worked in a large teaching hospital in Dublin for 8 years as a general Radiographer, as well as in Nuclear Medicine and CT.
During this time, she was the Radiography Clinical Practice Tutor for 3 years and was responsible for the clinical education and assessment of UCD students.
Edel was Secretary of the Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy (IIRRT) for 7 years on in a voluntary capacity and she has presented at conferences nationally and internationally on topics such as forensic imaging, paediatrics, radiation protection, radiation dose reduction and CT, including cardiac CT.
Edel has been working with Lake Imaging as CT Supervisor since December 2014 where she has been an important asset for not only the Geelong region, but across the Lake Imaging and Integral Diagnostic Group.
The Journey to Australia and Lake Imaging:
Edel took 6 months off work (from her Senior Radiographer role in Ireland) in October 2013 to come to Australia.
During this time, she worked as a Locum Radiographer in Walgett, NSW.
Deciding to extend her stay in Australia for another 6 months, Edel worked as a Locum Radiographer in the Northern Hospital in Epping, Victoria.
An experienced sailor, Edel ventured off to Vanuatu and sailed a yacht back to Melbourne which took 4 1/2 months!
It was then time to find a 'real' job and Edel applied for the CT Supervisor's role at Lake Imaging. Edel loves living in Geelong and enjoys working with the team at Lake Imaging!