Mammography is an X-Ray examination of the mammary glands, which enables examination of breasts in different positions, thus obtaining comprehensive data on the health of patient’s breast. Mammography is considered to be one of the most efficient methods for the diagnostics of breast cancer and other breast problems. The method of mammography allows diagnostics of tumours, when they are still small and cannot be perceived. At the initial stages they are relatively easy to treat, therefore it is very important to detect them promptly.
Frequently asked questions
- What should a patient know before the performance of a mammography examination?
During the MG examination a mammography device compresses the breast to obtain a high-quality X-Ray image, therefore, the examination may cause short-term, minor discomfort in a patient.
It is recommended to perform mammography examination in the time period from day 5 to day 10 of the menstrual cycle. Performance of mammography examination is not recommended in patients with breast implants. The examination shall not be performed during pregnancy.
- Computed tomography
Computed tomography is a widely available method of diagnostic radiology examination, which, uses X-Rays like regular X-Ray examination. CT differs in terms of its capacity to obtain several images of cross-sections of body parts. Multiplanar image processing is performed (processing of images in several planes), thus obtaining maximum information on the examined part of the body. In the event of thoracic, abdominal and lesser pelvis examinations, a contrast substance needs to be injected in the vein, therefore, prior to the examination, the patient must determine the blood level of creatinine and glomerular filtration rate or the functionality of kidneys, which is especially important, since the intravenous contrast agent is excreted from the body via the kidneys.
The contrast substance may cause side effects that the patients are informed about. The contrast substance is not injected in patients with allergic reaction to Iodine or patients, who have previously had allergic reaction to such intravenous contrast substance.
CT is available for patients with metallic implants, because a specialised software is used to correct the image deviations caused by the implant.
- What is examined by using computed tomography examinations?
- Head and brain;
- Paranasal sinuses;
- Organs of the thorax;
- Organs of the abdomen and lesser pelvis;
- Vertebral column.
CT is irreplaceable in the event of polytrauma!
- What should a patient know before the performance of a computed tomography examination?
Prior to the CT examination, the patient must remove all metal containing clothing items or jewellery. It is advisable not to eat for 3 – 4 hours prior to examinations that involve intravenous injection of contrast substance.
Upon the performance of the CT examination, the patient is placed on a special table around which the X-Ray tube rotates during examination. The examination is not painless or unpleasant to the patient.
- Magnetic resonance imaging
MRI is one of the most precise diagnostic methods, which uses magnetic field and radio frequency wave impulses. MRI not only allows the diagnostics of the central nervous system of the patient, their brain and spinal cord, bone and joint systems, soft tissue and intrauterine foetus of a pregnant woman*, but also the visualisation of joint tendons, tissue of the cartilage, menisci, and to obtain finely detailed and precise information, which is impossible by using other methods.
MRI provides special information for patients with oncology diseases by performing the whole-body MRI diffuse screening examination*, which allows to detect even the tiniest foci in any area of the body, thus excluding, specifying or confirming the diagnosis.
* MRI examinations of intrauterine foetus of a pregnant woman and whole-body MRI diffuse screening is available only at the Magnetic Resonance Office of Vizuālā diagnostika, Ltd. In Riga, Grebenščikova iela 1 (in the premises of Diagnostics Centre Ltd.).
- What should a patient know before the performance of a magnetic resonance examination?
MRI is an examination method that is completely harmless to patient’s health, it is usually not painless or unpleasant for the patient. Being within the device or the noises caused by the device may cause the discomfort in more sensitive patients**. The examination lasts from 20 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the body part examined.
The patients do not have dietary limitations to be observed prior to MRI examination, unless indicated otherwise. Prior to examination, the patient must remove all clothes and jewellery that contain metal, as well as remove keys, coins and bank cards from the pockets (the magnet irreversibly damages magnetic strips of the cards), as well as mobile telephones. If the profession of the patient is associated with metal processing, they must warn the personnel of the medicinal institution about that.
Women are advised to avoid using eyelash mascara, eye shadows and hair setting spray, since they can interfere with the obtaining of high-quality image.
**MRI device with larger diameter bore is installed at the office of Vizuālā diagnostika Ltd. in Riga, to take care of patients with claustrophobia symptoms and excess weight.
- When the patient must not perform MRI examinations?
MRI examinations may not be performed in patients with:
•Metal implants (brackets, artificial cusps, screws, plates);
•Foreign bodies incorporated as a result of household trauma (splinters, projectiles, bullets, etc.);
•Pregnancy until week 12 of gestation, except the events of vital indications;
•Patients in incommunicable status that require general anaesthesia.
- Doppler ultrasound
Doppler ultrasound is examination of blood vessels with the help of ultrasound device that enables obtaining images of blood vessels, registering the direction and velocity of the blood flow. Doppler ultrasound examinations allow to determine the changes that develop in the blood vessels and to assess the therapy results of the patient. The examination enables the physician to examine the blood vessels of the head and neck by precisely determining the blood flow defects and degree thereof.
- What should a patient know before the performance of a Doppler ultrasound examination?
No special preparations need to be done prior to a Doppler ultrasound examination. The examination is painless and harmless to health, as well as there is no age limit to perform the examination.
Echocardiography is the method of heart examination and diagnostics that is based on the registration of the ultrasound signals reflected from moving structures of the heart. The examination provides the physician with the opportunity to determine the anatomical structure of the heart, the dimensions of the ventricles and atria, the thickness of the walls of the heart, to evaluate the functional condition of heart valves, as well as to determine the presence of scars or thrombi after myocardial infarction. EchoCG can be used to determine the velocity and direction of blood flow in the heart and to determine deviations from the norm that are dangerous to the patient, but do not cause immediate complaints.
- In what situations is the performance of EchoCG examination recommended?
- If the patient has pain in the area of the heart;
- If the patient has elevated blood pressure;
- If the patient complains of arrhythmia;
- If the tones of the heart are altered or cardiac noises are detected;
- If fainting and/or shortages of breath occur;
- If cholesterol levels are elevated;
- If the amount of blood oxygen is decreased or the skin and mucous membranes are bluish in colour;
- If chemotherapy medications or other medications that affect hear function are used;
- If the assessment of heart function indicators after myocarditis and endocarditis (inflammation processes in the heart) is required.
- What should a patient know before the performance of an EchoCG examination?
EchoCG is painless and completely harmless for the health of the patient (no ionising radiation is used), it can be performed in children and pregnant women as well. The patient does not require special preparations. The examination lasts for 15 – 20 minutes.
During the examination, the patient needs to assume supine position on the therapy couch or to lie on their side, remove clothing from the chest, where a gel-coated receiver, which creates mobile images of the heart on the image, is placed.
The use of ultrasound ensures visual diagnostic examinations that enable the determining of the structure of organs and soft tissue. High frequency sound waves or ultrasound, which is differently reflected from organs and different tissue is used to obtain the USG image. The advantage of ultrasound is being painless, harmless, and the fact that the examination can be performed relatively quickly. Due to being harmless, the examination can be repeated for unlimited number of times. USG examinations can also be performed in pregnant women without any risk.
- What should a patient know before the performance of an ultrasound examination?
Prior to an ultrasound examination, the patient is recommended to consult a physician. It is recommended not to eat for 4 – 5 hours prior to ultrasound examination of the abdominal organs.
- What can be examined by using an ultrasound examination?
- Abdominal organs, including kidneys and urinary tract;
- Thyroid gland;
- Lymph nodes of the neck and salivary glands;
- Mammary glands;
- Muscles and joints
- Organs of the lesser pelvis (prostate in men and female reproductive organs - uterus, ovaries);
- Examinations of foetus in pregnant women.
- Holter monitoring
Holter monitoring is a recording of ECG that lasts for 18 to 24 hours and is performed to assess the heart rhythm disorders of the patient. The examination is performed in young patients, who could complain of periodically elevated heart rate, as well as elderly patients with the history of heart diseases (this allows detecting the cases of angina pectoris, as well as episodes of asymptomatic ischaemia). The examination can also be useful in the cases, where the patient complains on dizziness or fainting. In these cases, the recording of 18 – 24-hour electrocardiography allows to differentiate heart rhythm pathology from brain circulation disorders.
- How does Holter monitoring occur?
To perform monitoring, electrodes are fixed to the chest of the patient, which are connected to a small ECG recording device. During monitoring, the patient records their wellbeing and observed symptoms that occur during the physical activities. The performed observations enable the physician to analyse the obtained data and determine heart rhythm disorders or other heart diseases.
Electrodes and ECG recording device can be easily fixed under clothes and can be comfortably used without interfering with the daily activities of the patient.
- What should a patient know before the performance of an Holter monitoring?
No special preparations need to be performed prior to Holter monitoring, however, the patient is recommended not to use coffee, alcoholic beverages or smoke large amounts of cigarettes before the commencement of monitoring, since this can affect the heart function of the patient during the monitoring, as a result of which the examination results can be interpreted incorrectly.
Electrocardiography is a diagnostic examination, which registers and graphically reflects the electric potentials of the heart, which arise during the functioning of the heart. The recording of ECG provides the physician with the opportunity of obtaining important information on the heart rhythm disorders of the patient, to evaluate the trophic condition of the cardiac muscle, etc.
- How is the ECG examination conducted?
ECG examination at rest is performed by using a digital device, which enables fast and comfortable inspection of the status of the heart and to review and archive examination records electronically. It is possible that the patient will need to hold their breath for a moment pursuant to the request of the physician.
No special preparations need to be performed prior to the ECG, however, the patient is recommended not to use coffee, alcoholic beverages or smoke large amounts of cigarettes before examination, since this can affect the heart function of the patient during the examination, as a result of which the examination results can be interpreted incorrectly.
The examination procedure is painless and safe for health, there are no age limits for he performance of examination. The examination can be performed in children, pregnant women, breastfeeding women and newborns.
- In what cases is the performance of ECG examination recommended?
- Preventive ECG and screening ECG for the detection of cardiovascular pathology;
- Pain in the area of heart and/or shortage of breath is observed in the patient;
- The patient complains of heart arrhythmia, palpitations;
- Prior to any surgical operation and other medical intervention;
- Diseases of other organs, that can cause complications in the form of cardiovascular diseases;
- Occupational examination in the representatives of high-risk professions.
- X-Ray radiography
X-Ray is a diagnostic method that enables obtaining the images of the examined part of the body or Roentgenograms by using the radiation emitted by Roentgen lamp. X-Ray enables examinations of the bones of the skull, including cranial and facial bones, bones of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae of the spine, coccyx, hip bone, bones of the legs and arms, as well as the organs of the thorax.
- What should a patient know before the performance of an X-Ray examination?
No special preparations need to be done prior to an X-Ray examination. The examination procedure is painless and safe for health, there are no age limits for the performance of examination.