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Cardiac Imaging Suite

The next generation of heart imaging – today

Should you require medical attention for issues concerning your heart, your healthcare team may want to obtain images to better understand what is occurring, to diagnose the condition, and to plan for possible treatments.

Cardiovascular MRI Imaging

VCU Health Pauley Heart Center’s Cardiac Imaging Suite provides patients with some of the world’s most advanced cardiovascular imaging of the heart by utilizing Echocardiography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Both imaging forms are safe, pain-free, without ionizing radiation (X-Rays), and allows the physician to safely evaluate the hearts size, function, valves, perfusion, and blood flow. Leading the imaging team is Dr. Gregory Hundley, one of the world’s top heart imaging experts and the first physician to ever use MRI Stress Testing technology to forecast future heart attacks.

Pauley Heart Center’s advanced cardiovascular imaging suite utilizes cutting-edge equipment, ground breaking procedures, and expertise only available at VCU Health Pauley Heart Center. By using these advanced technologies VCU Health is able to provide higher-resolution images, shorter testing times, and expedited results. This ultimately allows the patient to receive lifesaving care sooner.

Located on the ground floor of the North Hospital at VCU Medical Center in the heart of downtown Richmond, the 7,200-square-foot suite is decorated in soothing color pallet is designed to put patients at ease while they undergo testing.

Echocardiography: Safe, simple ultrasound test to screen for heart conditions

Echocardiography uses high-frequency sound waves to provide images of your heart allowing doctors to see the anatomy, structure, function and blood vessels, which may identify abnormalities.

MRI: Get to know the “3 Tesla” magnet

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of the heart and cardiovascular system to assist in creating a plan for treatment.

Pauley uses one of the most advanced MRI systems available known as a 3 Tesla machine, or 3T. The 3T generates a magnetic field twice as strong as a traditional 1.5T MRI, producing higher resolution images as a result.

During the procedure, the patient lays on a table that glides into a tube-shaped machine. The patient must lay still for precise images, though internal sensors on the smart machine can anticipate an individual’s breath-holding capability, which reduces the chance of poor-quality scans.

MRI Cardiopulmonary Exercise testing

Symptoms of exercise intolerance (shortness of breath, fatigue, pain) may be caused by heart, lung, metabolic, and/or musculoskeletal conditions. A cardiopulmonary exercise test or CPET can help differentiate the causes of exercise intolerance, accurately determine exercise capacity, monitor changes in disease severity, and assess the effectiveness of medical therapies. A CPET measures ventilation or breathing, the amount of oxygen consumed, and the amount of carbon dioxide produced during exercise on a treadmill or bicycle ergometer. Patients are also attached to a blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter (to measure oxygen in the blood), and ECG leads (to record heart rate and rhythm).

With the MRI CPET, Pauley Heart Center patients undergo cardiopulmonary exercise testing with the addition of MRI to accurately determine cardiac reserve. The result is a more accurate determination of the causes of exercise intolerance in symptomatic patients. 

Meet Your Cardiac Imaging Team

Pauley’s Cardiac Imaging Suite enhances collaboration among all physicians and staff on a patient’s personalized care team: cardiologists, radiologists, clinical exercise physiologists, behavioral scientists, and others. In addition, both Pauley Heart Center and the VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center use the suite to improve diagnostic imaging and treatment for cancer patients.

Clinical Exercise Physiologists are healthcare professionals that utilize scientific rationale to design, implement and supervise exercise testing and programming for those with chronic diseases, conditions or physical limitations. Working closely with our cardiology, radiology, and nursing colleagues this will optimize the information gleaned from patient evaluations and allow more targeted care options. 

Contact us

Referring providers:

  • To refer a patient to the Pauley Heart Center Cardiac Imaging Suite, call (804)-828-8184
  • The cardiac imaging suite is located at the VCU Medical Center North Hospital