New York Methodist offers the latest technology in cardiovascular imaging, including vascular magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Board certified cardiologists trained in heart imaging perform and read these tests to ensure high quality heart care for people living with heart disease.
MRI is a safe, noninvasive test that creates detailed pictures of organs and tissues and doesn't require use of radiation or iodine contrast. Cardiac MRI creates images of the heart as it's beating, producing both still and moving pictures of the heart and major blood vessels.
Cardiac MRI is a common test. It's used to diagnose and evaluate a number of diseases and conditions, including:
- Coronary Heart Disease, also Called Coronary Artery Disease
- Damage Caused by a Heart Attack
- Heart Failure
- Heart Valve Problems
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Pericarditis (a condition in which the membrane, or sac, around the heart is inflamed)
- Cardiac Tumors
- Infiltrative Cardiomyopathies
MRI Stress Test
A cardiac MRI may include a stress test to detect blockages in the coronary arteries. During a stress test, the patient exercises on a treadmill or bicycle to make the heart work hard and beat rapidly. A pharmacological stress test is also available for patients with conditions which prevent or prohibit exercise.
A stress test can detect the following problems:
- Abnormal Changes in Your Heart Rate or Blood Pressure
- Symptoms such as Shortness of Breath or Chest Pain (which are particularly important if they occur at low levels of exercise)
- Abnormal Changes in your Heart's Rhythm or Electrical Activity
A stress test also may be used to assess other problems, such as heart valve disease or heart failure.
Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA) is a non-invasive test that is used to visualize blood flow in vessels throughout the body. Radio waves and a computer take pictures of the blood flow to detect malformations and "hardening" of blood vessels within the head and neck, torso, and lower extremities. MRA can also be used to detect aneurysms (ballooning of the blood vessels) as small as four millimeters in diameter.
The advantages of MRA is that it is faster and easier than conventional angiograms since it doesn't involve the catheters and other risks associated with angiograms.
Once vessel closures and defects are discovered, doctors are able to recommend a treatment for improving blood flow to that part of the body.
For more information on cardiovascular imaging at New York Methodist, call 718.780.3502.