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Cardiac MRI and CT

Seth Uretsky, MD

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cardiac computed tomography (CT) allow SLR cardiologists to examine the heart and its blood vessels more closely. Both testing techniques pose little or no risk to patients.

Cardiac MRI uses magnets and radio-frequency sound waves to produce high quality still and moving pictures of the body’s internal structures. Like ultrasound, patients are not exposed to radiation. This test is especially useful for evaluating the cardiovascular system, because it creates images of the heart while the organ is beating.

Using cardiac MRI, physicians can obtain images of the chest and cardiovascular system from many angles, allowing for better assessment of complex cardiac anatomic abnormalities. It can identify problems in cardiac chamber contraction, areas of the heart muscle not receiving adequate blood supply from coronary arteries, and with the use of non-iodine-based enhancing agents, show heart muscle damaged by heart attack.

Cardiac MRI is commonly used for evaluating ischemic heart disease, “thick-wall” myocardial (heart muscle) disease, right ventricular abnormalities, pericardial (sac around the heart) disease, cardiac tumors, alular disease, thoracic aortic disease, pulmonary artery disease, and congenital heart disease before and after surgical repairs.

Cardiac CT scans are X-ray images that, with the aid of a computer, generate cross-sectional views of the body. Cardiac CT uses intravenous iodine-based contrast to visualize cardiac anatomy, including arteries and veins. With this diagnostic technique, it is possible to produce high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the heart and blood vessels.

Cardiac CT is used to evaluate the condition of the heart muscle, coronary arteries, pulmonary veins, thoracic aorta, pericardium, and the left atrial appendage, a muscular pouch connected to the left atrium of the heart, which can be a source for blood clots. Cardiac CT also can be used to produce a calcium score, which measures the buildup of cholesterol or plaque in coronary arteries, called atherosclerosis.

For a referral to an expert cardiologist at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, call 877.996.9334.

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