UMPhysicians Heart at Fairview: First in the world with side-by-side advanced cardiovascular imaging technology
Traditional heart imaging—including echocardiography, X-ray and nuclear imaging—are appropriate for revealing areas of decreased blood flow and past medium-to-large size heart attacks. But they often reveal far from the whole story. To detect the extent and location of damage from smaller heart attacks, as well as the accompanying plaque build-up, wide-bore MR imaging, dual-source flash CT and ammonia PET provide faster, safer and less-invasive diagnostic capabilities than ever before possible.
At University of Minnesota Physicians Heart at Fairview, we are the first program in the world to provide state-of-the-art wide-bore cardiac MRI and CT imaging technologies side-by-side, as well as ammonia PET scan available in the same location. These imaging capabilities provide our cardiologists, together with specialists from radiology and cardiovascular surgery, with a view inside the heart that reveals unprecedented clarity and precision.
Uma Valeti, MD
Director, Advanced CV Imaging
University of Minnesota Physicians
Additionally, our combined use of cardiovascular CT and echocardiography is dramatically changing the landscape of transcutaneous aortic valve replacement (TAVR). It allows us to create a road map to deliver the aortic valve to patients who are too sick to undergo surgery, offering hope to those who might otherwise die much earlier.
The overall benefits of our state-of-the-art imaging modalities include:
- The ability—in many cases—to obtain critical diagnostic information without subjecting the patients to radiation or, if X-rays are required, to use the lowest dose of radiation techniques available.
- Fewer invasive procedures and reduced need for repeated tests as the result of more definitive diagnosis.
Our ability to offer a seamless cardiovascular imaging experience to our patients means we are able to offer the right test, to the right patient, at the right time.
Cardiac “flash” CT
Dual source “flash” CT is an advanced technology that provides faster speed and the lowest radiation exposure available, while capturing the highest quality images for improved diagnosis. Benefits include:
- Low-dose radiation (as low as one millisevert)
- Test results in a third of a second, making it effective even in patients who have trouble holding their breath
- A reduced need for beta-blockers in medication-intolerant patients because of faster imaging capabilities (except in select cases when beta-blockers are needed for reducing radiation)
- Enhanced image quality by virtually eliminating motion
Wide-bore cardiovascular MRI
The 1.5 Tesla “Aera” scanner offers the widest bore MRI technology on the market. Benefits include:
- Comprehensive imaging details without the need to expose patients to radiation or iodinated contrast materials
- More body room during testing to provide more comfort to patients who are claustrophobic and who are larger size
- Enhanced details of the heart for improved diagnosis
- The most powerful gradients and processing techniques to allow faster scanning
- The ability to diagnose numerous causes of cardiomyopathy that were previously undiagnosable with noninvasive imaging
Ammonia PET Scan
Similar to nuclear imaging, the ammonia PET scanner quantifies the blood flow to the heart but does so with less radiation, higher image quality and significantly fewer artifacts compared to traditional nuclear imaging. Benefits include the ability to:
- Produce Images of previously undetectable levels of inflammation in the heart , using molecular imaging capabilities
- Check blood flow to a transplanted heart
- Evaluate the results of cardiac regenerative therapies such as stem-cell treatments and gene therapy
In addition to these advanced imaging capabilities, we offer state-of-the-art imaging capabilities in echo- and nuclear cardiology.
UMPhysicians Heart at Fairview is one of the few programs nationwide to offer advanced imaging services provided by cardiologists and radiologists specifically trained in cardiovascular CT, MRI and PET scan imaging.
Our team is committed to providing fast turnaround times to referring physicians, in most cases 24-hours. We value timely two-way ongoing communication with you about your patients as critical to achieving optimal outcomes.
To schedule an exam at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, call 612-273-5535.
A 52-year-old male, with mild asymptomatic aortic coarctation, was getting ready to run a marathon. He was followed up with traditional cardiovascular imaging for many decades. This cardiovascular MRI picked up a paper thin aneurysm that was close to rupturing, prior to his run. The patient had a successful surgical repair.
This 3D Image of the heart and its blood vessels in a 55-year-old woman (performed using our FLASH CT) replaced the need for invasive angiography. The procedure was performed at 1/5 the radiation dose of an invasive angiogram and 1/20 the dose of a nuclear stress test.
A PET scan study in a 46-year-old with cardiac arrest showed an area of intense inflammation in the base of the heart that led to complete heart block (something that was not visable using echocardiography or traditional nuclear imaging techniques). The patient was diagnosed with sarcoidosis and underwent treatment for that condition in addition to receiving a defibrillator.
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