Heart - Cardiology & Cardiovascular Surgery

Cardiac MRI

We perform cardiac MRI (CMR) studies on cardiac-dedicated systems that are regularly calibrated to provide optimal performance.  We review all studies on high-definition workstations using advanced 3D analysis tools and they are interpreted by nationally recognized experts in the field.

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

CMR is the most accurate method for evaluating ventricular mass, volume, and function. With special MRI images, we can perform ‘tissue characterization’ of cardiac masses to determine the type of mass or tumor. This is far more advanced than other non-invasive imaging modalities. Cardiac MRI also allows us to diagnose disorders such as sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, and hemochromatosis.  It is also helpful for diagnosis of right ventricular dysplasia.

We can perform CMR in combination with pharmacological stress, 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 in various diseases. Late gadolinium imaging can also reveal the distribution and severity of myocardial injury in myocardial infarction. The absence of late gadolinium enhancement 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. CMR can accurately quantify the severity of valve stenosis (hardening) or regurgitation (leakage) without the need for intravenous contrast administration. CMR is also an excellent imaging modality in patients with complex congenital heart disease. CMR can delineate cardiac morphology in great detail and can help us detect and measure the degree of intracardiac shunt for those who have congenital heart disease.

CMR angiography (MRA) evaluates the three-dimensional anatomy of the systemic, pulmonic, and venous vasculature. Due to the absence of ionizing radiation, MRA is an ideal test for the serial follow-up of patients with aortic aneurysms or dissections. Using the latest technologies available, we can evaluate these cardiovascular structures using EKG gating and diaphragmatic gating for improved spatial resolution and image quality. For many indications, we can perform MRA without intravenous contrast while maintaining excellent diagnostic accuracy.