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Cardiac Imaging

Allegheny Health Network Cardiovascular MRI Center

At the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular MRI Center, you have access to state-of-the art cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMRI), a highly advanced tool for diagnosing heart disease. Made available through the AHN Cardiovascular Institute, CMRI is faster, safer, less expensive, and less stressful for patients than other imaging options.

CMRI creates detailed, 3-D still and moving pictures of your heart and circulatory system. Doctors get a clear view of its chambers, valves, and blood vessels in motion. This allows them to see whether or not you have a condition requiring treatment.

The pictures are taken through a painless, non-invasive test. It does not involve X-rays, radiation, or injections of chemical contrast agents. After one 45-minute procedure, your physician can usually provide a diagnosis in 24 hours.

The gold standard of viability for cardiology

A CMRI will highlight disorders that need to be treated and show how your heart has recovered after a heart attack. This helps doctors assess the condition of your heart and consider whether or not you will benefit from other procedures like angioplasty or bypass surgery.

CMRIs can help study:

  • Left and right cardiac structure and function
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Thoracic aortic disease, including dissections and aneurysms
  • Large artery and vein disorders
  • Pericardial disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Tumors around the heart or blood vessels
  • Valve disorders

Bringing MRI to more patients

The AHN Cardiovascular MRI Center is one of a few imaging centers in the world that welcomes patients with implantable devices (pacemakers and ICDs). We have demonstrated the safety of using an approved protocol for CMRI tests on those patients (except for patients with cochlear implants or clips for brain aneurysms).

Renowned team of clinicians and researchers

The AHN Cardiovascular MRI Center has invested in equipment and specialized staff training. It is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission of MRI Laboratories (IAC).

Medical Director of the AHN Cardiovascular MRI Center, Dr. Robert Biederman, is one of only a handful of cardiologists in the United States who has completed a National Institutes of Health fellowship. Other CMRI Center experts include:

  • Cardiologists
  • Physicist
  • MRI technologists
  • Image analysts
  • CMRI nurse
  • Support staff

Breaking new ground in MRI use

The AHN Cardiovascular MRI Center has pioneered new and exciting uses of MRI:

  • We received NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute supported grants for pioneering new techniques.
  • We were one of the first to characterize CMRI as a superior method of imaging women’s heart disease over cardiac catheterization, nuclear testing, and standard tools.
  • We use CMRI to provide patients with streamlined pre-operative testing and eliminate the need for separate echocardiograms and nuclear stress tests.
  • Liver transplant patients can receive a higher resolution, 70-minute MRI of the cardiac and vascular systems and liver before surgery. This will help determine whether or not they can handle the stress of the procedure.
  • We have performed scans for neurologic, neurosurgical, and orthopaedic cases. We collaborate with highly skilled AHN radiology experts to interpret non-cardiac imaging.
  • The center also provides opportunities for patients to participate in ongoing research studies.

To learn more about CMRI at AHN, call 412-359-8009.