New MRI Center Gives Duke Doctors Better Look At Heart
Posted October 21, 2002 2:44 a.m. EDT
DURHAM, N.C. — New technology is giving Triangle doctors a better view of patient's hearts.
The cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging scanner is part of the first facility of its kind at
Duke Medical Center
. Doctors believe these sharper images will lead to better patient care.
Karen Pressley recently had a heart attack and decided to have an MRI scan at Duke so cardiologists could get a better look at the damage left behind.
"The MRI, in this case, will show the damage that has been done, if any, the extent of it, and what might be possible treatments for my particular heart disease," Pressley said.
Magnetic Resonance Center
is the first in the country devoted exclusively to heart disease.
"Cardiac (magnetic resonance) is in its infancy and I think it's so exciting because every other week or so we find yet another way to image the heart," said Dr. Raymond Kim, cardiologist at Duke Medical Center.
MRI is a noninvasive, radiation-free technique that captures 3-D moving images of the heart. Doctors are able to observe how well the heart muscle contracts and identify areas of damaged tissue. According to doctors, an MRI provides views that electrocardiograms cannot.
"It's a little bit like, you know, for an astronomer to be able to use the Hubble telescope and for the first time have a look at these galaxies that were never visible before," said Dr. Pascal Goldschmidt, chief of cardiology at Duke.
Before her MRI, Pressley's doctors felt there was too much damage to do an angioplasty. Tests showed she was an ideal candidate and will not need more complicated surgery.
"They found fortunately very little damage from the silent heart attack so that opens us up to more possibilities in treatment," said Goldschmidt.
The MRI center is expected to serve up to 2,000 patients in 2002. It will also conduct research to test the effectiveness of new medications and treatments.