Advanced Cardiac Imaging
Advanced cardiac imaging describes a science in which cardiac specialists using sophisticated technology can obtain three dimensional (3D) images to view the structure and function of the heart, and assess perfusion, the way blood flows to the heart.
A highly skilled team at Concord Hospital Cardiac Associates uses this technology to produce clear, precise images to identify conditions that affect the health of the heart muscle or heart valves, or coronary artery blockages that restrict blood flow to the heart, causing heart attacks or chest pain (angina). These images sometimes can be used with other diagnostic tools to gauge blood flow, including stress testing, nuclear imaging, echocardiography and cardiac catheterization.
Advanced imaging techniques also are sometimes used as guides for planning and precision during invasive cardiac procedures such as rhythm ablation and valve replacement.
Cardiac Computer Topography (CT) scans produce 3D images of the structure and function of the heart through X-ray imaging.
Concord Hospital is equipped with the latest generation of dosereduction CT technology, which reduces the X-ray exposure. While it is not always as versatile as an MRI in characterizing heart tissue, it has the ability, in some cases, to produce images of the arteries that feed the heart. CT scans often are used to assess the fine details of the anatomy of the heart and as preparation for cardiac procedures.
Dr. Michael Newton
"We have a full complement of cardiac imaging — invasive, non-invasive, 3D and otherwise. Most hospitals in the area don't have that and the degree to which we developed these programs is arguably better than any other place in the state." ~ Dr. Michael Newton of Concord Hospital Cardiac Associates
Nuclear Stress Testing
Nuclear stress testing is a technique that allows cardiologists to make X-ray blood flow maps of the heart to look for potential blockages of the arteries that feed the heart muscle. A very low-level radioactive liquid is injected into the blood stream. It concentrates brightly in the heart, where the radioactive material emits X-rays that are recorded from different angles by a very sensitive camera. A computer can slice the images to show the muscle of the heart and expose the location of blood flow problems. The Center for Cardiac Care team has the latest technology in nuclear cameras providing the most accurate imaging. The team performs five to ten nuclear stress tests a day, building on their wealth of experience.
Also known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a cardiac MRI is a painless test that uses radio waves and magnets to create detailed 2D, 3D and moving pictures of the heart. Beginning more than 20 years ago, Cardiac Associates’ cardiologist Dr. Michael Newton was part of a team of doctors and engineers in Boston who researched using MRI for cardiac imaging. He began the MRI program at Concord Hospital approximately ten years ago, and helped develop it into a program that receives referrals to Concord Hospital from all over the state.
MRI often can provide images of astounding clarity, without exposing patients to X-rays, allowing doctors to study heart tissue and detect scarring, inflammation or injury. By collecting multiple images during 10-12 heartbeats, the images can be viewed in a sequence, much like frames in a movie. The images allow doctors to assess the condition of heart muscle in preparation for surgery, as well the structure and function of the heart and the condition of valves.