The Best CT Scanner for Cardiac Imaging – Guide

This article has been updated 27-02-2024

In this blog post, we give you an introduction to the best CT scanner for cardiac imaging.

We discuss the two main types of heart exams. Also, we cover the best cardiac CT scanners. Additionally, we discuss the price of a heart CT scanner.

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

By the time you finish reading, you will be prepared to choose your next cardiac CT.

Let us start from the beginning – explaining 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?

A CT’s slice count can range anywhere from 4 to 640 slices. However, not all slice counts can perform cardiac examinations. We recommend getting a CT scanner with 64 slices or more for conducting heart studies. 

  • 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. 
  • With a 64-slice CT scanner, you can only do basic cardiovascular procedures. However, a 128-slice CT allows you to execute more advanced cardiac procedures.
  • CTs with 128 slices or more show detailed 3D images of the heart’s structure and function in high resolution.
  • 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 perform full cardiac studies, such as calcium scoring or coronary angiogram, 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 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 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 is the Best CT Scanner for Cardiac Imaging?

What is the best CT scanner for cardiac imaging on the used market?

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

Canon Aquilion One 640

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 pre-owned market with this capability. Therefore, it is considered the best cardiac CT scanner available when buying used.

Canon Aquilion Prime 80/160

Aquilion Prime 80 uses Cardio Prospective which administers the dose according to the patient’s heart rate. This feature allows for clear heart images by capturing them when the heart is still, leading to better quality images.

For the Aquilion Prime 160, the higher slice count enables you to get more coverage of the heart in a single rotation. This enhances patient comfort as scan times are fairly low. Further, this system delivers top quality images which is essential for accurate diagnosis of cardiac issues.

GE Optima CT660 128

The GE Optima CT660 128 slice CT is designed for efficient diagnostic procedures. Especially it is great in ERs, as it has a dedicated user interface for emergencies. This interface allow you to start examinations extra fast. For the heart, you can get a full coverage image in only five heartbeats.

Also, this GE cardiac CT scanner makes use of the Xtream Injector feature. This enables you to do a synchronized start of both the scan and injection directly from the console.

GE Discovery CT750 HD 128

The Discovery CT750 offers you up to 47% improvement in spatial resolution for cardiac scans. This allows you to locate stenosis in coronary and vascular vessels more easily. Just like with the Optima CT660, with this GE cardiac CT scanner you can get a full image of the heart in only five heartbeats. Of course, you are sure to get a high image quality with this system.

Philips Ingenuity 64

The Philips Ingenuity 64 system provides advanced capabilities with a focus on precision, efficiency, and patient comfort. It can be used for regular check-ups and advanced heart scans, making it a versatile system for various medical needs. The machine is quiet and has a bigger gantry, making imaging more comfortable for patients. If you are looking for a Philips cardiac CT scanner, this is the one we recommend.

Siemens Somatom Definition AS 64/128

The Definition AS is a strong Siemens cardiac CT scanner. It offers FAST Cardio Wizard which can easily guide you through the preparation for a cardiac examination. You will also experience rotation speeds as low as 0.30 seconds and scan modes such as the Adaptive ECG Pulsing and Adaptive Cardio Sequence. Additionally, this reduces exposure in sensitive areas such as the heart for better protection of the patient.

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 for +128 slice CT scan machines on the used market.

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 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 the Best CT Scanner for Cardiac Imaging

It can be difficult to find the best CT scanner for cardiac imaging as there are many factors to consider.
Hopefully this guide has helped you.

Now, let us sum up the main points discussed.

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

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

So, Which CT scanner is best for cardiac imaging?

For cardiac, we recommend that you invest in a CT scanner with a higher slice count – preferably from 64 slices and up. The 64-slice CT can do basic cardiovascular procedures but if you are looking to do advanced cardiac studies, more slices would be optimal. A 128-slice, a 256-slice, or even a 640-slice will do an incredible job.

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. Both from GE, Philips, Siemens and Canon.
We hope you find the best CT scanner for cardiac imaging that fits your needs fully.

If you need more guidance, we will be happy to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

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