Heart disease is the number-one cause of death in the United States. Advances in imaging allow specialists to detect signs of cardiac disease in the earliest and most treatable stages.
Diagnostic Radiology, P.C. (DRPC) offers extensive cardiac imaging capabilities including coronary calcium scoring with CT, non-coronary CTA, MRA, vascular ultrasound with Doppler technology and nuclear cardiology.
At DRPC, our team includes board-certified radiologists with subspecialty fellowship training in interventional radiology, magnetic resonance imaging, angiography and body imaging. We are committed to providing you with the best care possible for patients. Simply put, our goal is to help patients conveniently obtain the most appropriate diagnostic exam for their specific cardiac health needs.
Imaging Modalities Offered
Coronary Calcium Scoring with CT
During this fast and simple non-invasive exam, the patient’s heart rate is monitored while the CT scanner acquires rapid images of the heart. The CT scan will show whether or not there is calcification in the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood). The presence of calcium in the coronary arteries is a reliable indicator of coronary artery disease, which, if untreated, can progress to artery blockage and possibly a heart attack. The images and data acquired are analyzed by our radiologists with an individual patient comparison to people of the same gender and age group. The coronary artery calcium score is a reliable predictor of future heart attack risk and is often a powerful motivator of health and lifestyle change for patients.
CTA (CT Angiography) is performed by injecting intravenous contrast and timing CT image acquisition to best visualize arterial flow in the arterial system to be imaged. This can be the aorta, pulmonary arteries or peripheral arteries. CTA therefore, is very useful for non-invasively diagnosing and guiding treatment of arterial vascular disease throughout the body. CTA is commonly used to identify atherosclerotic disease, aneurysms, or aortic dissection. CTA is also used to detect narrowings or obstruction of the renal arteries, carotid arteries, and major arteries of the lower extremities. Following stent placement for a narrowing or aneurysm, CTA serves as a non-invasive mechanism to monitor the subsequent success of that treatment or whether additional intervention is required.
MR angiography (MRA) can be performed in many parts of the body both without and with the intravenous injection of an MRI contrast material, gadolinium. MRA is valuable in the detection and diagnosis of stroke, renal artery stenosis, peripheral vascular disease and aortic aneurysm. MRA is commonly used to screen patients with family history of intracranial aneurysm or carotid artery disease. MRA studies do not utilize the iodine-based contrast material required in catheter angiography. When MRI contrast material is required for imaging of the vascular system, the risk of an allergic reaction is extremely low.
Vascular Ultrasound with Doppler Technology
Application of an ultrasound probe to the skin surface with gel is all that is required to produce exquisitely detailed real-time images of arterial and venous blood flow. Because ultrasound is a flexible imaging modality that does not use ionizing radiation, does not require an IV and does not require contrast administration, nearly anyone can get an ultrasound. Because of these advantages, ultrasound is often the modality of choice for a variety of cardiovascular conditions. Ultrasound is valuable in the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots of the lower extremities, a condition that can be potentially life-threatening.
Despite the many advantages of CT, MRI and ultrasound, nuclear medicine remains one of the most utilized examinations to determine the presence of coronary artery disease and cardiac function. After injecting a radioisotope intravenously, images of the heart are obtained to determine the presence of potentially dangerous blockages within the coronary arteries.