The latest cardiac imaging technology has made it easier for University of Mississippi Health Care physicians to diagnose congenital heart defects in children and to establish the appropriate treatment.
Compared to echocardiograms, the imaging produced by a cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) exam provides excellent visualization of the entire heart and surrounding structures.
"It's easy for me to understand the anatomy because the images have so much clarity. The images speak a thousand words," said Dr. Andrew Rivard, radiologist and director of cardiac imaging at UMMC.
A standard coronary angiogram, which can help diagnose heart conditions, is the most common type of heart catheter procedure using X-rays. In contrast, a cardiac MR exam does not involve radiation from X-rays, and is an excellent exam to assess for suspected coronary artery anomalies in children.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center is believed to be one of 31 places in the world that offers MR coronary artery angiograms.
"With the advancement of this technology and its availability in UMMC, we are able to avoid cardiac catheterization in some patients and in others we are able to plan accurately for a procedure," said Dr. Makram Ebeid, pediatric cardiologist.
Dr. Jorge Salazar, chief of congenital heart surgery, said Rivard and his team have transformed cardiac imaging for congenital heart patients and contributed to the success of the congenital heart surgery program.
"The non-invasive imaging is at a world-class level and translates into even better care for the congenital heart patients. The detailed information provided by Dr. Rivard and his team enables the best selection and timing of a congenital heart procedure, whether surgical or in the catheterization laboratory," he said.