The Cardiovascular Imaging (CVI) section utilizes the latest computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR), and image processing technology to provide non-invasive images of the cardiovascular system.

As the first dedicated CVI section and the largest in the Philadelphia area, we continue to practice at the cutting edge by using the latest technology, such as the first dual x-ray source CT scanner, the latest generation of 1.5 and 3TMR systems, and advanced image processing systems including a virtual reality system for medical image evaluation.

Our patients can be assured that our team of radiologists and cardiologists are armed with the scientific expertise and clinical knowledge which will result in the best use of this new dual energy technology for excellent cardiovascular diagnosis and care.

We apply only the most up-to-date techniques and technology for rapid and accurate diagnoses, without the risks or discomfort associated with more invasive procedures such as cardiac catheterization or catheter angiography.

These techniques include:

  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA)
  • Cardiac computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA)

The Cardiovascular Section is the only department in region offering MRI services for patients with a pacemaker or defibrillator.

Dual Energy Source Technology

For patients experiencing chest pain, new CT imaging technology is helping doctors provide a faster and more accurate diagnosis of the source of their discomfort.

At Penn Radiology, our physicians are using this dual source, multi-slice CT to produce three-dimensional, detailed images of the heart. With twice the imaging power in half the time, our radiologists are able to characterize different types of atherosclerotic plaque, including whether a patient has any of the type more likely to rupture and cause a heart attack.

This ground-breaking system uses two X-ray energy sources to produce detailed images of the heart. The X-ray sources can be set at different energy levels so that two different images can be produced from a single scan. Because the body's tissues and fluids appear differently when the energy is increased or decreased, radiologists are able to compare these two images to better analyze and differentiate visual details. This results in a more exact diagnosis.

Cardiac and Vascular Exams

Clinical Cardiac Exams

A clinical cardiac examination is a noninvasive assessment of the heart and coronary arteries. The exam may include a number of tests including coronary angiography and evaluation of myocardial perfusion, viability, contractility and heart valve function. Cardiac exams are regularly performed to assess for:

  • Anomalous pulmonary venous drainage
  • Right ventricular dysplasia
  • Constrictive pericarditis
  • Aberrant or anomalous coronary arteries

Pulmonary venous anatomy is also assessed in patient's undergoing radiofrequency (RF) ablation.

Clinical Vascular Exams

A clinical vascular examination is a noninvasive assessment performed to evaluate a wide range of vascular disorders. This exam is regularly conducted to assess the thoracic and abdominal aorta in individuals with aneurysms or dissection and connective tissue disorders such as Marfan and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. We also have extensive experience evaluating individuals with claudication and peripheral vascular disease as well as cases of secondary hypertension related to renal artery stenosis.

Advancing Cardiovascular Imaging Through Research

Penn Medicine's Cardiovascular Imaging section is well established as an innovator. Our clinicians were the first in the Philadelphia area to perform coronary CT angiogram, a noninvasive technique that uses a powerful x-ray to view the heart and blood vessels.

We continue to be innovators in the field through our dedicated research efforts. Our research programs include basic and clinical research related to technological innovations and clinical trials to test new treatments.

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