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What Student Need to Know about Imaging of cardiovascular system In Radio-Diagnosis.

 What Student Need to Know about Imaging of cardiovascular system In Radio-Diagnosis.

Cardiac imaging is a subspecialty of diagnostic radiology. A cardiac radiologist supervises or performs and then interprets medical images to diagnose diseases of the heart such as heart disease, leaky heart valves and defects in the size and shape of the heart. A cardiac radiologist uses imaging techniques such as X-rays, ultrasound (echocardiograms), CT (computed tomography) scans and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.

These tests are used to screen for heart disease, determine what is causing your symptoms and monitor your heart and find out if your treatment is working. Cardiac (heart) imaging procedures include:

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the structures within and around the heart. Cardiac MRI is used to detect or monitor cardiac disease and to evaluate the heart’s anatomy and function in patients with both heart disease present at birth and heart diseases that develop after birth. Cardiac MRI does not use ionizing radiation to produce images, and it may provide the best images of the heart for certain conditions.

Cardiac MRI is performed to help your physician detect or monitor cardiac disease by:

  • evaluating the anatomy and function of the heart chambers, heart valves, size of and blood flow through major vessels, and the surrounding structures such as the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart).
  • diagnosing a variety of cardiovascular (heart and/or blood vessel) disorders such as tumors, infections, and inflammatory conditions.
  • evaluating the effects of coronary artery disease such as limited blood flow to the heart muscle and scarring within the heart muscle after a heart attack.
  • planning a patient’s treatment for cardiovascular disorders.
  • monitoring the progression of certain disorders over time.
  • evaluating the effects of surgical changes, especially in patients with congenital heart disease.
  • evaluating the anatomy of the heart and blood vessels in children and adults with congenital heart disease (heart disease present at birth).

Tell your doctor about any health problems, recent surgeries or allergies, and whether there’s a possibility you are pregnant. The magnetic field is not harmful, but it may cause some medical devices to malfunction. Most orthopedic implants pose no risk, but you should always tell the MRI technologist if you have any devices or metal in your body. Guidelines about eating and drinking before your exam vary between facilities. Unless you are told otherwise, take your regular medications as usual. Leave all jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown during the exam. If you have claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to ask your doctor for a mild sedative prior to the exam.

Benefits

  • MRI is a noninvasive imaging technique that does not involve exposure to radiation.
  • MR images of the heart are better than other imaging methods for certain conditions. This advantage makes MRI an invaluable tool in early diagnosis and evaluation of certain cardiac abnormalities, especially those involving the heart muscle.
  • MRI has proven valuable in diagnosing a broad range of conditions, including cardiovascular anatomical anomalies (e.g., congenital heart defects), functional abnormalities (e.g., valve failure), tumors, and conditions related to coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy (disease affecting the heart muscle).
  • MR imaging can be used during certain interventional procedures, such as catheter-based ablation procedures to treat irregular heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation. The use of MRI can substantially shorten the time required to perform these procedures and result in improved accuracy.
  • MRI can detect abnormalities that might be obscured by bone with other imaging methods.
  • The MRI gadolinium contrast material is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than the iodine-based contrast materials used for x-rays and CT scanning.
  • Cardiac MRI allows for evaluation of the structures and function of the heart and major vessels without the risks of exposure to ionizing radiation which may be associated with more invasive procedures or some other non-invasive tests.

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Risks

  • The MRI exam poses almost no risk to the average patient when appropriate safety guidelines are followed.
  • If sedation is used, there is a risk of using too much. However, your vital signs will be monitored to minimize this risk.
  • The strong magnetic field is not harmful. However, it may cause implanted medical devices to malfunction or cause distortion of the images.
  • Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is a recognized, but rare, complication related to injection of gadolinium contrast. It usually occurs in patients with serious kidney disease. Your doctor will carefully assess your kidney function before considering a contrast injection.
  • There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is used. Such reactions are usually mild and controlled by medication. If you have an allergic reaction, a doctor will be available for immediate assistance.
  • IV contrast manufacturers indicate mothers should not breastfeed their babies for 24-48 hours after contrast material is given. However, the most recent American College of Radiology (ACR) Manual on Contrast Media reports that studies show the amount of contrast absorbed by the infant during breastfeeding is extremely low.

We pride ourselves in being at the forefront of medical research in the diagnostic imaging field with the ultimate goal to advance clinical knowledge and translating the newest diagnostic discoveries to our patients.

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