Patient-Doctor Communication is Key to Safety with Any Heart Imaging Test

From a young age, most of us have probably heard “Honesty is the best policy” and that is never truer than when you are visiting your doctor. Does he need to know every small facet of your personal life? No, but what your doctor does need to know are the things that could be affecting your health, mood or treatment plans. Doctors use symptoms along with your personal and familial history when they are making diagnoses or offering medical advice so it is critical that patients keep their physician informed and their answers honest.

It is ironic that people, more often than not, choose to lie to a person designated to help them. Maybe it is because of vanity, embarrassment or fear of judgment that keeps people misinforming their doctors but in the end, they are not only doing themselves a disservice but they are wasting their doctor’s time.

However, it isn’t only the patient’s responsibility to be honest, doctors must also keep a level of transparency with their patients. Undoubtedly, doctors explaining complicated surgeries and procedures may go over some patient’s head but when it comes to explaining risk, doctors should be as informative and honest as possible. One area that doctors need to begin clarifying the potential risk is around medical imaging procedures.

There are so much misinformation surrounding medical imaging and with all the advances and discoveries being made every year, it is easier for patients when their doctors explain the benefits and risks instead of attempting to do independent research. One area of medical imaging that has garnered recent attention from both patients and physicians is subjects regarding the heart imaging test. Any heart imaging test involving radiation presents a certain degree of risk but only through strong patient-doctor communication can this risk be mitigated.

According to a recent publication from the American Heart Association, “”Radiation-related risk is one of the factors that should be considered in the decision to use cardiovascular imaging with ionizing radiation, particularly in younger patients in whom the potential risk of radiation exposure is thought to be higher.”  The article also brings up a valid point in that because there is no federal regulation on the amount of radiation to be used in medical imaging tests, it is up to the healthcare provider to make the proper estimate. Many patients do not know these potential risks and side effects to overexposure to radiation. While this may sound alarmist to some, the chances of developing cancer due to medical imaging tests is extremely small and the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.

Medical imaging tests of the heart are now the most common way to determine the symptoms of heart disease, typically CTs and PET-CT scans. These exams, although extremely informative, still use small doses of radiation in order to create images.

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, the machines that we use for imaging procedures is state-of-the-art equipment with the most recent updates. And the machinery that does operate with radiation is calibrated to the lowest possible setting that will still produce a viable image for a physician’s perusal. In addition to our equipment, prior to any procedure our technicians will consult with the patient in order to inform them of what is going to be taking place, questions about their health and answer any questions they may have.

If you have other questions, please either contact us online via this form, or call our experts at 504-883-8111.

What You Need to Know Before Your MRI Procedure

Regardless of the reason you need to have a medical imaging procedure performed, you likely have a few questions about what will occur. MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, are performed for numerous conditions, everything from sports injuries to detecting cancer and functional disorders, so the questions posed to radiologists often have a great deal of subject range.

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we try to answer all of your questions and to make sure that you have the most beneficial and comfortable imaging procedure possible. One way we do this is by having a thorough consultation process as well as sharing information regarding precautions that need to be taken before and after your MRI procedure.

If you are coming in to have an MRI performed, there are a few facts that you need to know to help make your procedure as efficient and suitable as possible. To begin, if you are unaware, an MRI machine uses a large circular magnet (or incomplete circle for open MRIs) and radio waves combined with computer technology in order to create images of the internal structures of the body. Because of the strong magnet within the machine, be sure that you have removed any metal objects such as jewelry, hair pins, eyeglasses, wigs, dentures, hearing aids, watches, belts, and shoes. If any of these objects have metal parts, they will interfere with the image’s quality.

If you have certain implanted objects, be sure to let the radiologist or technician know about these objects before your MRI procedure begins. Items like prosthetic joints, pacemakers, IUDs, tattoos, metal plates or surgical screws can alter the MRI image. Women and girls should not wear any form of eye makeup to their MRI because some mascaras and eyeshadows contain metallic flecks that can cause problems with the images. Yes, even something that small can cause the images produced to be inconsistent so if you have other questions about what to wear or bring to your MRI, feel free to call Doctors Imaging at any time. In addition, if you think you may be pregnant or if you are having kidney difficulties, it is important that you let our staff know these things. While MRIs do not use radiation, doctors may want to go with another option for getting their results if the patient is pregnant. Kidney function problems need to be shared with doctors because contrast material may be used during your imaging procedure and as you’ll see below, contrast material can have adverse reactions in those with kidney problems.

Depending on what your MRI is for, doctors may sometimes ask that you refrain from eating up to an hour before your procedure in order to improve the quality of the images. Your doctor may also have to use contrast material during your MRI in order to highlight and enhance the visibility of certain blood vessels and areas of the body for examination. Technicians will begin the exam and about two-thirds of the way through the exam, the contrast will be administered intravenously. Most patients describe a flushing or cooling sensation around the injection site or a slight metallic taste in the mouth. These are all normal sensations but if you feel uncomfortable at any time during your procedure, speak up and let the technologist know so they may assist you. If you have kidney function problems, be sure to let your radiologist know so that safe use of contrast material can be considered. In those with normal kidney function, contrast material is eventually filtered out of the body with no problems but for those with kidney problems, contrast material may not be filtered out of the body ,

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we’re radiologists concerned about patient care. Fill out this online form or call 504-883-8111 to get in touch with us.