The Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and the National Heart Centre (NHC) have jointly set up a new state-of-the-art imaging facility known as SCAN CVI to provide totally non-invasive comprehensive radiological imaging of the heart and all the major and peripheral vessels in the body.

SCAN CVI (SingHealth Centre for Advanced Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Imaging) will be amongst the few imaging centres in the world providing coordinated delivery of non-invasive cardiovascular imaging using the latest state-of-the-art Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) technology. The centre is supported by a dedicated team of cardiologists, radiologists and radiographers from SGH and NHC, who have a wealth of experience and expertise in cardiovascular imaging studies.

“These advanced imaging services require the hybrid specialised knowledge of imaging techniques and cardiovascular anatomy and physiology. Patients with cardiovascular disease, in particular, heart patients will benefit from these diagnostic procedures. This will result in more accurate diagnosis leading to better treatment and management plans. This is made possible by the close collaboration between the radiology and cardiology disciplines within the SingHealth family”, said Professor Tan Ser Kiat, Group Chief Executive Officer, SingHealth and Chief Executive Officer, Singapore General Hospital.

Cardiovascular Imaging

Two advanced non-invasive cardiovascular imaging services which SCAN CVI will offer are Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) and Cardiac Computer Tomography (CT).

CMR is a test that produces high-quality still and moving pictures of the heart and great vessels. As it is a non-invasive procedure which does not involve x-ray exposure, it has emerged as an important non-invasive cardiac imaging modality to detect abnormalities in cardiac chamber contraction as well as to show abnormal patterns of blood flow in the heart and great vessels. It also has the capability to identify areas of the heart muscle that are not receiving adequate blood supply from the coronary arteries after a heart attack.

Cardiac Computed Tomography (CT) is a test which uses advanced CT technology to non-invasively determine whether either fatty deposits or calcium deposits have built up in the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle. Although Cardiac CT examinations are growing in use, the coronary angiogram still remains the gold standard for detecting significant narrowing of an artery which could allow therapy to be performed (e.g. catheter-based intervention such as coronary stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery which is not possible with Cardiac CT).

The availability of these two advanced non-invasive cardiovascular imaging services offer alternative options to patients especially those who are not suitable for invasive diagnostic procedures. For example, patients with intermediate to high-risk profiles for coronary artery diseases but do not have typical symptoms might be candidates for a cardiac CT scan instead of an invasive coronary angiogram.

In addition, CMR is an excellent test for assessing whether the patient's heart muscle is irreversibly damaged or still viable and whether bypass surgery or angioplasty will benefit the patient. It might be especially useful when other conventional tests for assessing the viability of heart muscle have borderline results. The choice of which test to use is based on the individual patient's condition.

Memorandum of Understanding

In conjunction with the official opening of SCAN CVI, SGH and Siemens will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding to establish SCAN CVI and the Department as a reference site for state-of-the-art imaging in Southeast Asia where joint training programmes, clinical trials and developmental projects will be conducted.

Said Mr Adam Lim, General Manager, Siemens Pte Ltd, Medical Solution, “The SGH -Siemens Memorandum of Understanding is a milestone for us to demonstrate our commitments and contributions to the healthcare community. This collaboration will help propel Singapore further as a Centre for Medical Excellence.”