Non-invasive Diagnostic Techniques to Evaluate Heart Activity
Loyola Medicine’s multidisciplinary team of internationally recognized radiologists and cardiologists perform state-of-the-art diagnostic heart imaging. Loyola’s expertise in high-resolution imaging, including cardiac MRI and cardiac CT, allows our world-class team of imaging specialists to see details and detect complications that might otherwise go undiagnosed. We provide imaging and consultation for the most severe cardiac cases, including complex arrhythmias and heart transplant candidates.
Loyola’s skilled cardiac imaging team offers many non-invasive diagnostic techniques for evaluating heart activity. Our state-of-the-art equipment ensures that we provide superior images with less radiation exposure for our patients, in addition to facilitating quicker and more effective image acquisition.
Our expert radiologists are recognized nationally and internationally for clinical excellence, innovative diagnostic and therapeutic methods and skilled use of the latest technology. Our experienced technologists provide testing in a caring and compassionate environment where we want you to feel comfortable asking any questions you may have about your test or procedure.
Why Choose Loyola for Cardiac Imaging?
As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, comprehensive care to patients and trains future leaders in advanced cardiac imaging technology. Loyola takes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families. Your entire Loyola healthcare team has one goal: restoring you to better health.
Loyola is one of the few educational institutions in the country offering fellowships in cardiovascular imaging. All Loyola radiologists are fellowship-trained, and many of our clinicians are involved in leading-edge research—such as the study of MRIs of patients with arrhythmias and heart failure. Several of our faculty serve on the boards of leading scientific journals.
Our multidisciplinary cardiac imaging team brings together cardiologists and radiologists who are leaders in their fields. Loyola’s cardiac imaging team is highly specialized and focused on advanced imaging studies of the heart and vascular system, which allows for more precise imaging, more accurate diagnosis and more targeted treatments for our patients. This collaboration improves patient outcomes and sets Loyola apart from other centers.
Electronic images are available to your doctors instantly through an electronic medical record system, allowing us to deliver timely, effective care to our patients. At Loyola, we understand the importance of continuity of care and will provide seamless communication with your doctor through our secure medical information portal, LoyolaConnect. You can also access results from your lab tests and evaluations through myLoyola.
What Cardiac Imaging Services are Available?
Loyola’s expert cardiac imaging team knows that early detection is the key to treating heart conditions successfully. We educate patients on the importance of reducing risk factors for heart disease and are experienced in using a variety of tools to detect, diagnose and treat a wide range of heart diseases and conditions.
Loyola’s specialists offer non-invasive cardiac imaging studies whenever possible; these tests are easier on the patient, as well as safe and effective in the diagnosis of a variety of heart conditions. Loyola’s dedicated team will deliver the highest quality of care—from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
We offer advanced cardiac imaging technology, including:
- 3D echocardiography — Your Loyola cardiologist may request 3D echocardiography images if you are experiencing chest pain, breathing difficulties and dysrhythmias. This approach is a painless, safe and highly effective way to evaluate heart anatomy and functions by allowing your doctor to see clear, moving, video images in real-time. Learn more about echocardiograms.
- Blood volume test — This nuclear imaging procedure is used to measure the volume of blood in your body, in addition to the volume of plasma and red cells in the blood. A blood volume test also helps in the evaluation and treatment of hypertension and heart failure and may also be used in the evaluation of kidney dialysis.
- Cardiac CT (computed tomography) angiography — Your Loyola cardiologist may request cardiac CT angiography in order to diagnose heart artery blockages or to assess your future risk of having a heart attack. This technology can also be used to treat heart disease and to determine the if current treatments are effective. Learn more about cardiac CT.
- Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) — Loyola’s skilled cardiologists use cardiac MRI imaging to evaluate heart function and to diagnose heart conditions. In the past, this may only have been previously possible through biopsy. Cardiac MRI can be used to evaluate and diagnose heart muscle dysfunction, cardiac masses, cardiomyopathy, heart valve disease, aneurysms of the heart or damage from a heart attack or inflammatory heart condition. Learn more about cardiac MRI.
- Cardiac stress test — Loyola’s experienced exercise physiologists perform exercise treadmill testing to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, electrical activity of the heart and any symptoms that occur during or after exercise. Learn more about cardiac stress tests.
- Chest X-ray — For patients with unexplained symptoms, a chest X-ray may be the first step in the diagnosis of a heart condition. X-rays can show if calcium deposits are present in the heart, which may indicate damage to the heart muscle, pericardium, valves or blood vessels. X-rays can be used to diagnose heart failure, congenital heart disease, pericardial effusion and heart valve problems.
- Echocardiogram — An echocardiogram may be used to diagnose heart failure or to assess damage to the heart after a heart attack. This painless, non-invasive test uses sound waves to evaluate the heart’s structure, movement and blood flow and may be used to monitor heart conditions over time. Learn more about echocardiograms.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) — An electrocardiogram is a non-invasive, painless test that monitors the electrical signals in your heart. Your cardiologist may use an electrocardiogram to diagnose heart rhythm disorders and other heart conditions.
- Fetal echocardiogram — For unborn babies at risk for heart problems, Loyola’s skilled radiology team provides imaging to detect problems with blood flow, heart rhythm or structures of the baby’s heart. Learn more about fetal cardiology consultation.
- Hemodynamic test — This nuclear imaging procedure evaluates the function of the heart and circulation. Along with results from a blood volume test, heart rate and blood pressure monitoring, this test can help your doctor determine the cause of syncope or circulation disorders and develop a plan of treatment. Learn more about comprehensive hemodynamic evaluation.
- Holter monitor for event recording — Your Loyola cardiologist may provide you with a Holter monitor to continuously monitor your heart’s rhythms during your everyday life. The Holter monitor may be worn for 24 to 48 hours and can aid in the diagnosis of heart rhythm disorders Learn more about Holter monitoring and event recording.
- Multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan — A MUGA scan is a nuclear imaging study that creates video images of the heart’s ventricles to evaluate pumping function. This technology illustrates how the heart wall moves and how much blood is expelled with each heartbeat. This test allows your cardiologist to see any abnormalities in the size of the ventricles or in the movement of blood through the heart. A MUGA scan also allows your cardiologist to evaluate your heart’s function before and after chemotherapy.
- Myocardial infarction scan – Your cardiologist may request this nuclear imaging study to identify a recent heart attack, define its size and location and determine prognosis.
- Myocardial perfusion testing — This nuclear imaging study provides information about the pumping function of the heart, as well as areas of the heart with reduced blood flow. Myocardial perfusion testing can be used to pinpoint the location and severity of a heart attack, in addition to identifying blocked coronary arteries and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment. It is also used to determine if a patient is at an increased risk for a heart attack or may need heart surgery.
- Nuclear cardiac imaging — Loyola provides a wide spectrum of non-invasive nuclear imaging studies for the detection of diseases and conditions of the heart. This technology uses no radiation, but rather a radioactive substance injected into the body to highlight areas of disease, tumors and other abnormalities. Learn more about nuclear cardiac imaging.
- Nuclear stress test — Your doctor may use nuclear stress testing to evaluate blood flow into the heart both at rest and during physical activity. It can be used to detect scarring of the heart muscle due to heart attack or reduced blood flow due to narrowed or blocked arteries. Learn more about cardiac stress tests.
- PET scan (positron emission tomography) — Loyola offers one of the world’s most sophisticated PET scanners for detecting cancer, heart disease and neurological problems. This non-invasive test provides your cardiologist with information about the flow of blood through the coronary arteries leading to the heart, as well as metabolic activity of the heart. It is a valuable tool in determining the best courses of treatment, including bypass surgery or angioplasty. It can also be used to diagnose myocardial perfusion.
- Radionuclide ventriculography — This nuclear imaging study is non-invasive and is used to provide information about the pumping function of the heart, as well as the valves of the heart and the integrity of the cardiac chambers. Your cardiologist may use this study to monitor the effects of drugs, such as chemotherapy, on the heart.
- SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) — SPECT imaging is most commonly used to diagnose coronary artery disease. This nuclear imaging study may be combined with a cardiac stress test in order to show blood flow into the heart during physical activity. SPECT imaging can also be used to detect areas of dead or damaged heart muscle tissue, which may be the result of a heart attack or infection.
- Ventricular function test — This nuclear imaging study provides information on how well the heart is pumping blood through the ventricles.
Specialized Programs for Comprehensive Cardiac Imaging
Loyola provides diagnosis and treatment in outstanding, conveniently located facilities. We have multidisciplinary facilities at the Loyola University Medical Center campus, in addition to outpatient services at other locations. We offer specialized services to provide you with the most comprehensive care.
Loyola’s radiology team is skilled in nuclear imaging for diseases and conditions of the heart. Nuclear imaging is safe and non-invasive and provides clear images for accurate, precise diagnosis. This technology can aid your cardiologist in identifying coronary artery disease, detecting prior heart attacks and assessing resulting damage to the heart muscle. Nuclear imaging can also be used to evaluate a patient’s risk for future heart attacks. This imaging tool allows cardiologists to plan timely and effective treatment including medication, angioplasty or bypass surgery. Learn more about nuclear cardiac imaging at Loyola.
Advanced Research to Improve Cardiac Imaging
As an academic medical center, Loyola is dedicated to improving future treatments by conducting research on new diagnostics and treatments. Loyola’s expert radiology team is actively pursuing new research, including studies on MRIs of patients with arrhythmias and heart failure. Several of our faculty also serve on the boards of leading scientific journals. Read about Loyola’s current clinical trials.