Congenital Heart Disease Detection and Diagnosis
Mount Sinai Heart is dedicated to finding and diagnosing pediatric and congenital heart disease in patients of all ages. Says Ira Parness, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, "When it comes to diagnosis, we are very experienced and meticulous. We take a lot of time, and we do it right."
Our advanced technology is state of the art, but an important step occurs before it ever comes into play. First, patients sit down with a doctor who will listen to their concerns and perform a careful examination.
"In our experience, talking with patients and parents leads to a correct diagnosis as often as any type of testing does," says Dr. Parness.
The initial visit will include a detailed discussion and an examination by one of our pediatric cardiologists. Most patients will also undergo an electrocardiogram — a brief and painless recording of the heart's electricity. In some cases, further testing may be performed or scheduled for a later date.
Experienced Echocardiographers Make the Difference
Mount Sinai Heart's Pediatric Echocardiography Laboratory uses ultrasound to create a real-time picture of the heart called an echocardiogram. The lab is staffed by physicians, nurses, and technicians with superior knowledge of congenital heart disease. They are highly skilled at taking accurate echocardiograms of patients from newborns to the elderly.
"We have five pediatric cardiologists devoted just to echocardiography and a full array of the latest technologies, including newer 3D technologies," says Dr. Parness.
Mount Sinai Heart performs 1,200 fetal echocardiograms every year. Our Fetal Heart program can perform fetal echocardiography as early as the 12th week of pregnancy.
Mount Sinai is a leader in developing new techniques for accurate echocardiogram results. Every year, we perform about 500 pediatric echocardiograms with mild sedation.
"We have found that sedation is a safe and effective way of keeping our patients comfortable and getting the best images," explains Shubhika Srivastava, MBBS, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Pediatric Echocardiography Laboratory.
The Full Resources of a Major Medical Center
Mount Sinai Heart offers the most advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment and expertise available. MRI is a noninvasive technology that creates detailed images of the heart's structures. In patients with complex heart disease, or if echocardiography gives an incomplete picture, MRI is an excellent alternative.
Depending on the type of heart problem, our doctors may recommend other forms of testing. These include heart rhythm monitoring using Holter or event monitors, stress testing, or minimally invasive tests such as cardiac catheterization or electrophysiology studies.