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Cardiac (heart) imaging

Because heart disease remains the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, early detect and prevention is critical.  Our leading-edge technologies produce high-resolution images of the heart and cardiovascular system that allow radiologists to assess blood flow, plaque build-up, blockages, and detect a variety of heart-related medical conditions. Our cardiovascular imaging team focuses on providing detailed assessment of the structure and function of the heart and vasculature through the following diagnostic procedures:

Cardiac MRI exams give radiologists an accurate snapshot of how blood flows through the heart and body, plus a look at the heart’s overall function. The technology is known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and it uses a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of the heart.

In a cardiac MRI, the patient lays on a table that slides into the scanner, and wears headphones that allow the technologist to talk with the patient. Images are obtained rapidly, often while the patient holds their breath for a few seconds. This is repeated several times, to image the entire heart. Many times, a small amount of contrast agent is given through an IV line, to better detect areas of scarring or other abnormalities. In addition to seeing blood flow and heart function, physicians are able to determine the cause of heart failure, evaluate valves, and build a plan for surgical procedures. More info

The Adenosine MRI Stress Test allows physicians to look at the anatomy and function of the heart, identify areas that are not receiving sufficient blood supply, and look for possible blockages of the coronary arteries. The test uses a medication, called adenosine, to increase the amount of blood flow to the heart to look for signs of narrowing of arteries that supply blood flow to the heart muscle. This test helps doctors find the cause of chest pain, checks for blockages, and helps understand whether a patient’s heart medication is effective.

Calcium scoring (heart scan) is a simple, painless, and non-invasive screening test that identifies conditions associated with an increased risk of heart disease, with the goal of detecting coronary artery disease (hardened arteries) at an early stage – oftentimes before symptoms are present. The test involves a CT scan which generates cross-sectional images of the arteries that supply blood to the heart and looks for possible deposits of calcium which are linked to plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. It is often recommended for men over 45 and women over 55, those with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, individuals with a family history of heart disease, current and former smokers, patients with diabetes, or those who are overweight. The Department of Radiology offers Calcium Scoring Heart Scans for $99.00 and requires a referral from your primary care physician. This preventive screening is generally not covered by insurance.

Coronary CTA (computed tomography angiogram) is a diagnostic heart-imaging test that helps your physician determine whether fatty deposits or calcium deposits have built up in your coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood flow to the heart. Using only an intravenous injection of a contrast dye, the test is non-invasive and evaluates a patient’s risk of a heart attack. Because a coronary CTA is able to detect small amounts of plaque that may be missed on other exams, it can help detect heart disease very early, before a patient may have symptoms.

MR Angiography and CT Angiography are diagnostic imaging exams that help diagnose abnormalities and diseases of the blood vessels throughout the body such as aneurysms (a weakening of a vessel wall) or a narrowing or blockage of a blood vessel. In some cases, a contrast dye may be administered through an IV to make your blood vessels images easier to see. These images of the blood vessels can be obtained with a magnetic resonance (MR) scanner or a computerized tomography (CT) scanner. Both state-of-the-art technologies offer patients a noninvasive option to examine blood vessels from head to toe.  In about 30 minutes an MRA or CTA provides our experts with a complete 360-degree image of the heart and blood vessels with a high degree of precision.  Once a vascular abnormality is identified, treatment planning can begin.