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Pauley Heart Center offers patients advanced exercise and pharmacologic stress testing

The 3.0 Tesla MRI offers rapidly produced, crisper images that aid in treating life-threatening cardiovascular conditions.

an mri machine in a medical office

Compared to most other technologies, magnetic resonance imaging produces more accurate, highly detailed images. Heart doctors use MRI in many ways, such as cardiac stress testing, early detection of heart problems due to cancer treatment, and evaluating the effectiveness of cardiac therapies.

One of the biggest advantages of MRI over other imaging technologies is its ability to determine which parts of the heart muscle are diseased. The technology more clearly shows the location of inflammation and scar tissue within the heart muscle.

In 2018, VCU Health Pauley Heart Center solidified itself as a leader in MRI technology by committing $4 million to building its 8,000-square-foot cardiovascular imaging suite.

This imaging suite is equipped with state-of-the-art 3.0 Tesla MRI scanning and echocardiography. Echocardiography helps doctors and researchers screen for problems, while MRI helps them identify the exact problems.

What sets the 3.0 Tesla scanner apart from traditional models is the strength of magnetization used to generate images. This leads to rapidly produced, crisper images, said Cory Trankle, M.D., a Pauley physician and assistant professor in the VCU School of Medicine. Trankle uses the 3.0 Tesla MRI to obtain images of the heart muscle while patients exercise on an MRI-compatible bike. He estimates that only about 20 centers in the world are capable of capturing these quality images.

The 3.0 Tesla MRI technology is also critical to supporting research by Pauley Heart Center director Greg Hundley, M.D. He uses the technology to research preventative heart health care for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Hundley was the first in the world to demonstrate that MRI stress testing can identify patients at risk of heart attack.

The three-dimensional images produced by MRI technology are particularly effective at revealing tissue damage caused by a heart attack or compromised blood flow due to blocked arteries. The 3.0 Tesla MRI has contributed significantly to Pauley’s success in treating people with these and other potentially life-threatening cardiovascular conditions.

Learn more about the VCU Health Pauley Heart Center and its programs and expertise.

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