At Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute, we use heart imaging every day to diagnose and treat patients. As vital members of our heart and vascular team, Memorial’s heart imaging specialists see patients at all stages of diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Our cardiac imaging specialists stand out because they have the most advanced training cardiologists can receive in imaging. To our patients and their families, that means more accurate diagnosis and more personalized care.
What Is Heart Imaging?
Heart imaging tests help cardiologists get a closer look at your heart and blood vessels to better diagnose and treat you. Many imaging tests are noninvasive, which means the imaging is done from outside the body. For other tests, we may use a catheter inserted into a blood vessel to examine your circulatory system.
In the course of caring for patients, we use heart imaging to help:
- Diagnose and learn more about conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels
- Guide heart surgeons and cardiologists during treatment, including heart surgery or other procedures
- See the heart after treatment to make sure it’s responding as we expect
- Monitor heart-related conditions
Why Choose Memorial for Cardiac Imaging?
We use advanced technology and clinical expertise to care for heart and vascular patients. When you choose Memorial for heart imaging, you are choosing a program that offers:
- Level 3 fellowship-trained imaging cardiologists: Our cardiologists have the highest level of training available for specialists in heart imaging. Cardiologists trained to Level 3 know how to provide and read diagnostic tests and what treatments to prescribe.
- Expertise for proper care: Our imaging cardiologists have expertise in patient care and all types of imaging. They are able to choose the right test for each patient’s unique situation, which offers you peace of mind. Often, you may also save time and money by avoiding unnecessary tests.
- The latest in 3-D echocardiography and cardiac MRI: An echocardiogram (echo) is a noninvasive test that uses ultrasound waves to create images of the heart. Using 3-D echocardiography helps us get an accurate picture. This accuracy is especially important in treating heart valve disease or preparing for heart surgery. We also offer innovations with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including stress perfusion cardiac MRI. This noninvasive test uses a drug to mimic the stress of exercise while you have a cardiac MRI.
- Team approach: Our TotalHeart approach means we focus on treating the full range of heart conditions. Our imaging specialists work with every heart and vascular subspecialty. Imaging experts are part of the team that meets weekly to discuss options for heart valve patients, including TAVR (a minimally invasive procedure to replace the aortic valve). Vascular surgeons also work with imaging to diagnose and treat vascular disease.
- Sports Cardiology testing/diagnoses: Heart imaging test results can have different meanings for athletes, dancers and active adults than for people who aren’t physically active. Our team has extensive experience working with these active adults to interpret tests accurately. Learn about our sports cardiology diagnostic process.
Noninvasive testing refers to diagnostic approaches that use an imaging device outside the body. The most common noninvasive tests include:
- Echocardiogram (echo): This diagnostic procedure uses ultrasound waves to create images of the heart. It helps us see how your heart valves are functioning, look at the size of your heart's four chambers, and see if your heart muscle is contracting effectively.
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Cardiac MRI offers a precise scan of your heart and major blood vessels without radiation. It takes images using a magnet, radio waves and a computer. Our new MRI scanner is wider than normal, which helps reduce anxiety and the feeling of claustrophobia that some patients have.
- Stress perfusion MRI: We use a drug to mimic the stress of exercise on your heart while taking an MRI. This new alternative to other, more invasive tests helps us see how blood flows to the heart during exercise.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans: A CT scan helps us evaluate structures outside the heart, including the veins, coronary arteries, aorta and aortic arch (the part of the aorta that bends). Our CT scanner uses very minimal radiation.
Minimally Invasive Imaging Tests
In minimally invasive tests, we introduce an imaging device inside the body. These tests include:
- Intravascular ultrasound: We use intravascular (inside the blood vessels) ultrasound during cardiac catheterization, a procedure that uses a small puncture in the arm or leg to thread a tiny tube to the heart. The high-frequency sound waves of the ultrasound provide a view inside the arteries.
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE): With TEE, we thread an ultrasound probe through the mouth and into your esophagus. TEE lets us see the heart from behind, without the lungs in the way. A TEE gives us more detailed information about your heart than a traditional echo. We use TEE before and after most heart surgeries.
- Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE): ICE is an emerging imaging technique that helps us get a clearer image of the inside of the heart. We sometimes use it during cardiac catheterization.
To schedule an appointment or learn more about heart and vascular care at Memorial, call 855-400-6284