Guide to Cardiac CT Scanners – Prices, Slices and Types of Exams

In this blog post, we give you an introduction to cardiac CT scanners.

For example, what are the two main types of cardiac examinations, what are the most suitable CT scanners for cardiac examinations, as well as what is the cost of a cardiac CT scanner?

We also give you our recommendations for the best cardiac CT scanners available on the used market.

Let’s start from the beginning and explain the basics of cardiac CT scanners.

What is a Cardiac CT scanner? 

A cardiac CT scanner utilizes multiple X-rays from different angles to create images of the heart. The pictures appear as detailed and high-resolution images that can show possible problems with the heart structure, valves, aorta, arteries and more.

Cardiac CTs’ advanced technology helps to improve the visualization of the heart and its blood vessels.

For you as a radiographer or for any other healthcare provider, this means that with this multi-slice scanning you can get high-resolution 3D images of your patients’ moving heart and vessels.

What CT Scanner Slice Count Is Suitable for Cardiac Exams?

CT slice count ranges from 4 to 640 slices. However, not all slice counts can perform cardiac examinations. We recommend getting a CT scanner with 64 slices and up if you want to do heart studies with your CT scan machine. 

  • A 64-slice CT scanner can perform heart examinations but it will require slowing down the heart rate. Therefore, for advanced cardiac studies, it is optimal to get a CT scanner with more slices. 

  • While a 64-slice CT scanner can only do basic cardiovascular procedures, with the 128-slice CT scanners you are able to execute more advanced cardiac procedures.

  • CT with 128-slice and above will provide you with visual details of the structure and function of the heart in high-resolution 3D images.

  • 256-slice CT scanners are primarily used to detect coronary artery disease and to assess coronary artery bypass grafts, cardiac structure and morphology.

Please note that if you are required to perform full cardiac studies such as calcium scoring or coronary angiogram, be aware that you may need an injector and a post-processing workstation with cardio software on it.

Cardiac CT ScannerTwo Main Types of Exams

In this section, you can read about the two main types of cardiac CT scanner procedures.

First, we introduce you to coronary angiograms. Secondly, you can read about calcium scoring scans.

Coronary Angiogram (CTA/CCTA) 

What is a coronary angiogram?

A coronary angiogram is used to visualise the heart arteries and the fatty deposits (called plaques) that can develop within them. The plaques can reduce the blood supply to the heart, which can cause chest pain and heart attacks.

A CT coronary angiogram involves injecting an iodine-based dye into the bloodstream to highlight your patient’s blood vessels.

However, unlike the traditional angiogram, which involves inserting a catheter in the wrist or groin into the heart, a CT coronary angiogram is non-invasive. It provides fewer potential complications such as bleeding or bruising.

Calcium Scoring Scan (Heart Scan)

What is CT calcium scoring?

Calcium scoring is a simpler scan, it does not provide detailed pictures of the heart or heart arteries but instead measures the amount of calcified, or hardened plaques in the heart arteries. 

This is usually explained as a calcium score which provides an assessment of the number of fatty plaques in the heart arteries.

The more fatty plaques your patients have, the higher the risk of heart attacks. Unlike a CT angiogram, a calcium scoring does not involve a dye.

What are the requirements for the CT scanner to perform coronary angiogram? 

  • It must be a 64-slice CT scanner and above 
  • The CT must have a cardio option: fast rotation + ECG gating + cardio software 
  • It needs ECG module option (connected and synchronized with CT) 
  • Double head injector 
  • Workstation with cardio software

What are the requirements for the CT scanner to perform calcium scoring? 

  • It must be a 64-slice CT scanner and above 
  • The CT must have a cardio option: fast rotation + ECG gating + cardio software 
  • It needs ECG module option (connected and synchronized with CT) 
  • Workstation with calcium scoring software 

What Are the Best CT Scanners for Cardiac Exams?

What is the best cardiac CT on the used market?

Based on our customers’ experience, we consider the following systems the best CT scanners for cardiac exams.

Toshiba Aquilion One

With its  320-row detector, the acquisition of volumetric imaging of entire organs is simple and easy. Thanks to that, the Aquilion can take a full image of the heart in just one rotation. The Aquilion One is the only CT available on the preowned market with this capability. Therefore, it is considered the best cardiac CT scanner available when buying used.

Toshiba Aquilion CX 128

The Aquilion CX 128 meets your clinical needs like no other system on the market. It is ideal for cardiac exams. This CT scanner is one of the most cost-effective and versatile diagnostic solutions ever developed. It offers an optimized workflow, enhanced dose management, improved image quality and elevates the level of care you provide both now and in the future.

Cardiac CT Scanner Machine Prices

Cardiac CT scanner prices can differ, depending on the CT slice count, model, age, manufacturers, and more. The higher slice CT scanners are more advanced, therefore they come at a higher price.

The below overview gives you an idea of CT scanner prices per the different slices.

So, how much does a cardiac CT scanner cost?

When looking for a cardiac CT Scanner, you should expect a pricing to start at around 100.000 Euros for a 64-slice CT scanner. However, if you want to do more advanced studies, the price will be closer to 200.000 Euros on the market for used +128 slice CT scan machines.

CT Scan machine Price - How Much Does a CT Scanner Cost

Please note that the above mentioned prices are in euros, and do not include crating, shipping, installation etc.

For more info, please visit our CT scanner pricing video, where our expert explains about CT scanner prices in more detail or visit our blog where we provide you with a thorough description of  how much does a CT scanner cost.

Sum up – Guide to Cardiac CT Scanners

Cardiac CT scanners use advanced technology to visualize the heart and its blood vessels. 

These systems rely on higher slice count to deliver sufficient image quality, therefore, the higher slice count also means higher quality and higher prices. 

The two main types of exams with a cardiac CT scanner are:

  • coronary angiogram (invasive)
  • calcium scoring (non-invasive)

There is a wide range of cardiac CT scanners available on the market, if you require further help in your next purchase, we will be happy to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Or you can sign up for our brand new mail crash course on CTs. This will walk you through all the main factors to consider when purchasing a CT scanner.

By signing up you will also get all the material as an e-book. And it will only cost you your e-mail address.