West Coast Radiology
In the right hands.
Cardiac imaging has advanced to such an extent that new diagnostic and therapeutic tools are available, and we bring these benefits to our patients. We can find abnormalities at an earlier stage and more accurately, and we collaborate with cardiologists, pediatricians and surgeons to provide minimally-invasive treatments where applicable. Our top-rated professionals, combined with state-of-the-art equipment, mean that we bring the best of cardiac imaging to your care.
What are my cardiac imaging options?
is used to obtain detailed images of the heart. It helps physicians evaluate heart structures, such as the chambers, valves, major vessels and pericardium (the fluid filled sac that surrounds the heart). Disorders such as coronary heart disease, scarring after a heart attack, tumors, infections and inflammation can all be diagnosed and monitored using MRI. Physicians also use MRI to plan a patient’s treatment.
Pediatric cardiologists use MRI to evaluate the heart anatomy, pump function, heart valve function and vascular blood flow both before and after surgical repair of congenital cardiovascular disease in children.
scans provide unique information on the metabolic functioning, rather than the structure, of the heart and other organs. Cardiac PET exams use tracer drugs to illuminate the area in question. A PET stress test can very accurately reveal complete or partial blockages to the arteries of the heart, enabling the patient to avoid an invasive catheterization in some cases.
Vascular ultrasound uses sound waves to image the body’s veins and arteries. A special ultrasound technique, called Doppler, evaluates blood flow through vessels in the abdomen, arms, legs, neck and head. It helps the physician find tumors, congenital malformations, narrowing (as with plaque accumulation), and blocks (as with deep-vein thrombosis). It also helps clinicians assess the health of the arteries before or after a procedure, i.e., to judge whether an angioplasty is advisable or if a graft is succeeding.
Cardiac nuclear medicine studies help physicians diagnose the cause and exact location of chest pain and visualize blood flow patterns to the heart (myocardial perfusion scan), scan for heart attack damage, assess the heart post-surgery (bypass or re-vascularization), and see the heart-wall movement (in conjunction with an electrocardiogram, or ECG).
A nuclear “stress test” takes images of your heart at rest and after your heart has been “stressed.” The two are compared to reveal if there is any damage to your heart muscle. This procedure helps evaluate coronary artery disease, acute chest pain, hibernating myocardium and cardiomyopathies. Initially, you will be injected with an isotope, and (30 minutes later) resting images will be acquired. The stress portion is next, which involves either a treadmill or injection of medications that mimic physiological stress. A second isotope is injected for this portion of the test. After your heart rate returns to normal and you eat, the technologist takes the final set of images of your heart.
This procedure is done as part of a sophisticated high-speed CT exam of the heart called a CT Angiogram. 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 risk of a cardiac incident. (Calcium covers the plaque that builds up inside artery walls.)
This test can assess coronary heart disease, which is often asymptomatic and is still the most common cause of death for Americans. If you have two or more of the following risk factors, discuss having this test with your doctor:
- Male over 45.
- High blood pressure.
- Female over 55.
- High stress lifestyle.
- Smoker or second hand exposure.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- High cholesterol.
- Family history of coronary artery disease.
Our advanced, ultra high-speed CT angiography technology pinpoints abnormalities in the coronary arteries (such as a blockage or plaque build-up), even in the absence of classic symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, or numbness. Instead of a standard angiogram, which requires sedation, threading of a catheter, and pain management a CT angiogram assembles a cross-sectional view of the heart and arteries in five minutes. It is non-invasive, painless, and accurate, with no recovery necessary for the patient. An opaque dye is injected to illuminate the arteries.