Cardiac imaging allows doctors to diagnose heart conditions and subsequently determine treatment. Using advanced technology to capture images of the heart, cardiac imaging can often pinpoint the presence of disease before any symptoms occur. Because heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, cardiac imaging can play a crucial role in saving lives. When heart disease is suspected, cardiac imaging is often the first step your doctor will take.
Cardiac imaging offers several ways to obtain and interpret images of the heart. These include:
Coronary catheterization - a minimally invasive procedure that presents an image of coronary circulation and blood-filled chambers of the heart through a catheter.
Echocardiogram – a sonogram of the heart created through 2D, 3D and Doppler ultrasound images.
Intravascular ultrasound – using a catheter with an ultrasound probe attached to the distal end, this diagnostic test sound waves to see inside blood vessels. Intravascular ultrasounds are often used to capture images of the coronary arteries.
Cardiac PET scan – a noninvasive test that can help diagnose coronary artery disease and heart attack damage. Also called positron emission tomography, these scans use radioactive tracers to show healthy and damaged heart muscle.
Cardiac CT scan – an x-ray that provides detailed images of the blood vessels and heart. Also called a computed tomography scan, this test helps evaluate if there is blockage or narrowing in the arteries.
Cardiac MRI – also known as cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging, this test used a large magnet, radio signals and a computer to produce detailed images of the cardiovascular system.
While these are some of the most popular imaging techniques, even more are available. Your doctor will help you choose the cardiac imaging service that best fits your needs and heart health.
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