28 Feb, 2024

Private Heart Scans: Types, Costs, and Which To Choose

If you’re concerned about your heart health or at risk of heart disease, you may wonder if a private heart scan can help diagnose a heart condition or problem with how the heart works. You’re in the right place. Several types of heart scans can take a closer look at your heart and help you get the treatment you need.  Our guide will talk you through all the different heart scans we offer, what each one is for, and what it can show about your heart’s health. 

Scan.com offers a range of cardiac (heart) imaging and private heart checks, from CTs and MRIs to angiograms. We also provide echocardiograms. With over 200 imaging centres offering a range of private heart checks and flexible appointments, you’re in control of your choices. Expert clinician consultations are provided for all scans for the heart, providing you with advice and reassurance before your scan and a comprehensive explanation of your results afterwards.

What types of heart scans are available to choose from?

There are lots of different heart scans available that can help your clinician get a detailed picture of how your heart is working and whether there are any issues with specific parts of your heart, such as the valves, blood vessels or chambers. 

Please note that some of these imaging techniques will require recent blood test results to check your kidney function before you can be referred. This is to make sure a contrast agent is safe for you to have.

Not sure which type of heart scan you need?

Why not book a 10-15 minute consultation with our expert clinical team? For just £50, you'll get the chance to speak to a clinician about your symptoms, discuss which scan would be right for you, or receive suggestions for next steps if a scan isn't indicated. If you do decide to go ahead with booking a scan, you'll get £50 off the price of your booking automatically. 


An echocardiogram, or 'echo', is an ultrasound scan of the heart. Your technician will move a small ultrasound probe around your chest to create images of your heart and the surrounding blood vessels. Private heart scans such as echocardiograms help your clinician find out how your heart is working, check any symptoms you have, and diagnose and monitor heart conditions. There are several different types of echocardiogram tests available as a private heart check:

Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE):

This is the most common type of echocardiogram. Your technician will place sticky electrodes on your chest and move an ultrasound probe across your chest. A TTE looks at blood flow through your heart and heart valves, so it can help your clinician work out how well your heart is pumping.

Stress echocardiogram:

An exercise stress echocardiogram is the same as a TTE, but it checks how your body responds to stress or physical activity. So, you’ll have the scan before and after you exercise on a treadmill or bike. If there’s a reason why you can’t exercise, you can have an injection that makes your heart work harder instead. A stress echo identifies whether your coronary arteries are getting enough oxygen-rich blood when the heart beats faster, so it helps in diagnosing coronary heart disease.

Transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE):

A TOE can help to get really defined images of your heart that a standard echo may not be able to by taking pictures from the tube that connects your throat to your stomach (oesophagus). To do this, your technician will ask you to swallow a thin, flexible tube with a small probe at the end. Don’t worry; you’ll have a sedative and a local anaesthetic spray to help you do this comfortably, and it shouldn’t last more than half an hour.

Contrast echocardiogram:

Sometimes, you’ll need a dye or something called a ‘contrast agent’ injected into your vein through a fine tube in your arm or the back of your hand (cannula). It helps give a better picture of how well your heart is pumping or whether there are any blood clots in your heart. Your technician will then carry out a TTE or TOE, depending on the reason for your scan. The dye stays in your system for just a few minutes, leaving your body through your lungs. 

Cardiac computerised tomography (CT)

A cardiac CT scan uses X-rays to take detailed, multi-slice images of your heart and blood vessels. These images can be viewed as flat, 2D images or merged to produce a 3D image.  Cardiac CT scans can help to pinpoint heart abnormalities more precisely than a regular X-ray, and different types are available.

CT angiogram:

A CT coronary angiogram is a scan using X-rays to look inside the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Your technician will inject contrast dye into a vein through a cannula to make your coronary arteries show up more clearly. It shows any clogged or blocked areas reducing blood flow. Your clinician may suggest a CT angiogram if they suspect you may have coronary artery disease or if you have chest pain that could be related to the heart.

Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT):

A SPECT scan is a painless nuclear imaging test that lets your clinician check how well your heart functions by creating detailed 3D images of your heart tissue. Your technician will inject a radioactive tracer into your vein, which makes its way to your heart. The tracer emits signals that a special SPECT camera can detect. It lets the camera see how well blood flows to different parts of your heart muscle and check if your heart chambers are emptying properly during contractions. Areas with reduced or blocked blood flow may show possible damage or disease. It uses only a small amount of radiation, and clinicians consider the scan safe. 

Nuclear cardiac stress test:

A nuclear cardiac stress test works like SPECT to check blood flow to your heart, but before and after physical activity. If there’s a reason you can’t exercise, your technician will give you an injection that makes your heart work harder instead. Comparing the before and after pictures helps your clinician diagnose conditions like coronary artery disease by highlighting areas that show decreased blood flow when the heart works harder. 

Cardiac MRI scan

A cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan takes detailed images of the heart using magnets and radio waves, without radiation. Different types of cardiac MRI are available:

General cardiac MRI:

A general cardiac MRI scan uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed 3D images of the heart. Your technician may use a contrast dye to help your heart’s blood flow appear more clearly. The pictures from a cardiac MRI are clearer than an ultrasound scan, so they’re more helpful for diagnosing complex heart conditions. The scan is painless and can last between 15 and 90 minutes. 

Cardiac stress MRI:

A cardiac MRI stress test helps to check how well your heart copes with extra strain. It's different from an exercise test because you'll get medicine through a vein to speed up your heart rate instead of being active. While the test is safe, you may feel short of breath or hot while it’s happening, but the side effects stop soon after you’re given the medicine. The test is safe and doesn't hurt, but you might feel short of breath or hot. These effects fade quickly once the test is over.


An MR-angiogram is a less invasive way of looking at your body’s blood vessels than an angiogram, which uses a catheter to inject a dye into your bloodstream. While you may still need the special dye, your technician will inject this using an intravenous needle instead. MR-angiograms can help detect blockages or narrowing of the blood vessels.

Cardiac MRI - Morphology:

A cardiac MRI morphology scan works like a cardiac MRI but focuses on your heart’s shape and structure. It helps your clinician pinpoint any problems in the heart that may be due to congenital heart disease. 

Cardiac positron emission tomography (PET)

 Your clinician may suggest a PET scan if other scans, such as an echo or cardiac stress test, don’t give them enough information. A heart PET scan looks at the size, shape and position of your heart and some of its functions. It can check if certain areas of your heart muscle are getting enough blood, look for damage to the heart or identify abnormal tissue or substances. Like the SPECT scan, it uses a radioactive tracer injected into your vein, which sends signals to a special camera. The camera can see how well your blood flows to the heart and check if your heart chambers are emptying normally during contractions. 

Why do I need a heart scan?

You might need a heart scan for several reasons, including:

  • You have symptoms that could indicate a problem with your heart, such as chest pain, breathlessness or palpitations.

  • You have a high risk of developing heart disease because you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you smoke, or you have a family history of heart disease.

  • You’ve had treatment for a heart condition or problem, and your clinician wants to check how well your heart is doing after treatment. 

  • You have a complex heart condition which needs careful and regular monitoring.

  • Your clinician needs to look at your heart before planning a surgical procedure or offering treatment.

What can scans for the heart detect?

Heart scans can detect a wide range of heart conditions, from blocked vessels and problems with blood flow to artery and tissue damage. They can identify problems with how the heart muscle and valves function or show signs of inflammation. They can also reveal signs of heart disease, congenital problems with the heart or enlarged or weakened heart chambers.

How much is a private heart scan?

The cost of a heart scan privately booked can depend on the type of scan you’re having. Different scans use different machinery, equipment or materials (such as contrast dye), which can affect the price. You may also need a doctor, such as a cardiologist, on standby during some scans.

At Scan.com, we believe you should have as much information as possible before booking. Here are some indications of private heart scan costs:

  • Echocardiogram costs start from £250

  • CT angiogram costs start from £1030

  • MRI Stress test costs start from £1910

  • MRI morphology costs start from £1320

  • MRI Angiogram costs start from £395

How do I find private heart scans near me or a private health check near me?

Whether you’re looking for a private heart check using an echocardiogram or a diagnostic scan such as CT or MRI, it’s easy to find and book the heart scan you need near you using Scan.com. We’ll help you skip NHS waiting lists and get diagnosis and treatment without a GP referral. With over 150 centres and flexible appointment times, we can help you find all types of heart scans UK-wide.



Cardiac MRI scan. (N.D.) https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/tests/mri-scan

Contract echocardiogram (echo). (2023). https://www.nth.nhs.uk/resources/contrast-echocardiogram-echo/

Echocardiogram. (N.D.) https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/tests/echocardiogram

Echocardiogram. (2023). https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/echocardiogram/about/pac-20393856

Focus on: CT scans of the heart. (2021). https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/tests/ct-scans-of-the-heart

Nuclear Cardiac Stress Test. (2022). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/17276-nuclear-cardiac-stress-test

SPECT scan. (2024). https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/spect-scan/about/pac-20384925

Tests for heart and circulatory conditions. (N.D.) https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/tests


Back to all news articles