CONTACT: MICHAEL SONDERGARD
8 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Cardiovascular MRI complements other heart imaging systems at UIHC
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Cardiovascular MRI imaging complements other leading-edge
heart imaging systems available to patients at the University of Iowa Hospitals
and Clinics, said
Michael Vannier, M.D., UI professor and head of radiology and an internationally
known expert in cardiac imaging technologies.
"The University of Iowa is almost unique in its ability to offer
the full range of cardiac imaging resources to patients and participants
in heart-related studies," Vannier said. "Very few health care
centers worldwide have what we have right here in our own backyard."
In fact, Vannier added, the leading textbook in the field of cardiac
imaging was originally authored by the late Melvin Marcus, M.D., a former
UI cardiologist, and is now edited by David Skorton, M.D., vice president
for research at the UI.
In addition to CVMRI, other UI imaging systems include:
* Ultrafast CT, also called Electron Beam CT, an advanced screening
system that provides patients with a quick, low-cost glimpse of their risk
for heart disease. This simple, five-minute test saves lives by identifying
and quantifying the amount of calcium build-up in a patient's coronary
arteries-a potentially lethal problem that may not cause chest pain or
other symptoms. William Stanford, M.D., UI professor of radiology who oversees
the UI's Ultrafast CT program, is an international pioneer in the field.
* Cardiovascular MRI, the FDA-approved magnetic resonance system that
detects evidence of heart disease in seemingly healthy people and those
with symptoms of heart disease (the vastly improved CVMRI system being
developed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and several other
centers nationwide is a modified version of this same system). CVMRI's
superb contrast resolution provides patients with excellent visualization
of the heart's chambers and cardiac motion.
* Echocardiography is yet another valuable tool for preserving heart
health, an ultrasound-based system that produces real-time images of the
patient's heart valves and the pumping action of the heart muscle. Combined
with Doppler techniques, it shows the flow of blood through the heart and
reveals abnormal valve leakage. Patients receiving echocardiography are
not exposed to radiation; in fact, the technique is so safe that UI specialists
use it to diagnose congenital heart defects in the fetus even before birth.
The UI Echocardiography Laboratory is directed by Richard Kerber, M.D.,
UI professor of internal medicine, one of the founders of echocardiography
in the United States. Kerber is the current president of the American Society
* Cardiac Positron Emission Tomography (P.E.T.), an advanced technology
that benefits select patients with coronary artery disease by providing
diagnostic information about heart muscle viability using metabolic evaluation.
* Cardiac nuclear imaging, a safe means of studying the patient's heart
muscle performance in relation to exercise and angina.
* Digital cardiac catheterization laboratory, a highly specialized facility
where UI cardiologists and engineers perform pioneering research into today's
critically important digital cardiac imaging systems.
"Everyone is different," Vannier said. "Therefore, we
have to make informed decisions about which of these wonderful technologies
is most appropriate for each patient. In any event, patients with heart
disease or symptoms of heart disease have a wide range of instruments available
at the UI that could potentially save or prolong their lives."