Heart - Cardiology & Cardiovascular Surgery

Cardiac MRI Laboratory

We perform more than 1,700 cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) studies annually, using state-of-the-art dedicated magnetic resonance scanners for the heart. We review all studies on high-definition workstations using advanced 3D analysis tools, and they are interpreted by nationally recognized experts in the field.

CMR uses magnets and a computer to generate detailed pictures of the heart. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, CMR does not involve ionizing radiation. CMR tells us about the type and severity of heart disease, including heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), diseases of the cardiac muscle (cardiomyopathy), inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), and valvular heart diseases. It is especially useful for identifying and quantifying the amount of heart muscle that can be rescued after a heart attack.

CMR is the gold standard method for evaluating ventricular mass, volumes, and function of both the right and left ventricle. Using special magnetic resonance sequences, we can perform “tissue characterization” of the heart muscle, as well as of cardiac masses, to determine the type of mass or tumor. This is far more advanced than other noninvasive imaging modalities. CMR also allows us to diagnose disorders, such as sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, hemochromatosis, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia.

We can perform CMR imaging in combination with pharmacological stress tests for detecting ischemia, making it a suitable alternative for patients who are technically difficult candidates for stress echocardiography or single-photon emission computed tomography.

If you have regional or global left ventricular dysfunction, imaging with intravenous gadolinium-based contrast media detects the presence and extent of myocardial fibrosis. Late gadolinium imaging can also reveal the distribution and severity of myocardial injury in a heart attack. It is an excellent predictor of functional recovery in patients being considered for revascularization.

CMR provides a comprehensive evaluation of atrial and ventricular chamber size, right and left ventricular function, and valvular function. It can accurately quantify the severity of valve hardening (stenosis) or leakage (regurgitation) without the need for intravenous contrast administration. CMR is also an excellent imaging modality in patients with simple and complex congenital heart disease. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) evaluates the three-dimensional anatomy of the aorta. Due to the absence of ionizing radiation, MRA is an ideal test for the serial follow-up of patients with aortic aneurysms or dissections. For many indications, we can perform MRA without intravenous contrast while maintaining excellent diagnostic accuracy. We also perform 4D flows for further evaluation of the aortic pathology.