Heart Health | RadNet
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Heart Health Image

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Advanced imaging techniques show not only the position, shape and structure of the heart but also how well it is functioning. These exams are minimally invasive with low-dose exposure—and can often yield very precise information. 

Some Heart Health Imaging Procedures Include:

Angiogram

An angiogram is an X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. It can reveal the integrity of the cardiovascular system in specific areas throughout the body. Combined with the use of intravenous contrast medium injected via a catheter, an angiogram identifies areas of blockage or damaged vessels within the circulatory system. CT and MRI may also be used to gain additional images of the arteries.

Cardiac MRI

Cardiac MRI is used to obtain detailed images of the heart. It helps physicians evaluate heart structures, such as the cardiac chambers and valves, major vessels and the pericardium (a small structure that surrounds the heart). Disorders such as coronary artery disease, irreversible scarring after a heart attack, tumors, infections, and inflammation can all be diagnosed and monitored using MRI. Physicians also use MRI to plan future patient’s treatment.

Carotid Ultrasound

Carotid ultrasound uses sound waves to produce pictures of the carotid arteries in the neck which carry blood from the heart to the brain. A Doppler ultrasound study, a technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel, is usually a part of this exam. It is most frequently used to screen patients for blockage or narrowing of the carotid arteries which may increase the risk of stroke.

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

This exam is part of a sophisticated high-speed CT exam of the heart. During the scan, which takes just seconds, the equipment measures the amount of calcium present and calculates a score. The lower the score, the lower the potential risk of an adverse future cardiac injury. (Calcium often covers the atherosclerotic plaque that builds up inside arteries.  This plaque and calcium can lead to narrowing of the inside of the arteries which could in turn lead to an increased risk of angina, and a heart attack.) This test can assess coronary heart disease, which is often asymptomatic and is the most common cause of death for patients in the United States.

MUGA Heart Scan

A multi-gated acquisition (MUGA) scan creates video images that show whether the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart are pumping blood properly. MUGA uses intravenous material (radiotracers) to show how blood moves through the heart. MUGA can be used to check for pre-existing cardiac conditions prior to chemotherapy, or after treatment to assess possible side effects. 

Myocardial Perfusion

This non-invasive exam shows how well blood perfuses (flows through) your heart muscle—in other words, how well your heart is pumping. Sometimes known as a nuclear stress test, it can be performed while the patient exercises on a treadmill or, if that is inadvisable, using a medicine that simulates the effect of exercise on the heart. Myocardial perfusion is an effective way to assess narrowed arteries, the effects of a past heart attack, or the viability of further procedures, such as a stent.