Shining the spotlight on cardiac imaging
ON Thursday, November 8, radiologists, radiographers, radiological technologists and professionals from related fields celebrated the seventh International Day of Radiology (IDOR 2018) all over the world.
The International Day of Radiology is an annual event held with the aim of:
• building greater awareness of the value that radiology contributes to safe patient care; and
• improving understanding of the vital role radiologists and radiological technologists play in the healthcare continuum.
Medical imaging is one of the most exciting and progressive disciplines in healthcare and a field of great activity in terms of technological and biological research. X-rays, MRI scans, ultrasound and numerous other medical imaging technologies, as well as the eye-catching images associated with them, are known to many people. However, the exact purpose and value of these services is not widely understood.
November 8, the day that Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered the existence of X-rays in 1895, was therefore chosen as a day of action and awareness. The aim is to alert the world to the stunning medical, scientific and even artistic possibilities of medical imaging, the essential role of radiologists and radiographers as parts of the healthcare team in countless medical scenarios, and the high educational and professional standards required of all staff working in medical imaging.
Cardiac imaging has been chosen as the main theme of this year’s IDOR, to highlight the essential role that imaging professionals play in the detection, diagnosis and management of cardiac diseases – increasing the quality of care and treatment of patients.
Cardiac imaging is a fast-growing subspecialty of diagnostic radiology that plays a huge part in the assessment and management of heart patients throughout the world. Cardiac radiologists – the experts in charge – supervise or perform imaging examinations, using technology such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and then interpret the resulting images to diagnose and monitor a wide range of diseases of the heart.
IDOR 2018 highlights the increasingly important role of radiologists in cardiac care. This critical role includes contributing to the diagnosis, pre-procedural work-up and follow-up of patients with a wide variety of cardiac pathology – from coronary artery disease and leaky heart valves to defects in the size and shape of the heart.
While cardiac imaging as a whole incorporates conventional angiography of the coronary arteries, echocardiography and nuclear imaging studies, the contribution of radiologists lies primarily in the fast-evolving non-invasive imaging assessment of cardiac and coronary disease, helping clinicians to diagnose a wide variety of possible pathologies.
The most important imaging modalities in cardiac radiology are computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Cardiac CT has gained an important place in the non-invasive evaluation of potential coronary artery disease, helping referring clinicians to rule out significant coronary artery disease, for example, in patients with non-specific symptoms, and other inconclusive examinations. It also plays a prominent role in the pre-procedural assessment of novel transcatheter aortic and mitral valve replacement procedures.
Cardiac MRI is mostly used to focus on cardiac morphology and tissue characterisation, helping in the detection and characterisation of cardiomyopathies, congenital heart disease, different types of scar tissue, and in the evaluation of valvular heart disease.
To take a look at the various IDOR events and celebrations held across the world, visit the International Day of Radiology Facebook page.