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Advanced Cardiac Imaging Services

Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco offers multiple state-of-the-art cardiac imaging technology including cardiac computed tomography (CT) angiography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, three dimensional rotational angiography, and nuclear medicine cardiac imaging.

  1. Cardiac CT angiography – is the application of an X ray beam and intravenous contrast to create non-invasive 3 dimensional images of the heart arteries and cardiac chambers. This 20 minute test generates high resolution images of the heart vessels and surrounding structures. It involves the administration of intravenous contrast. Limitations of cardiac CT angiography include irregular heart rhythms and significant kidney dysfunction.
  2. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging – is a safe and non-invasive procedure that uses a strong magnetic field to image the heart and the adjacent structures without the use of radiation. The heart function, heart dimensions, and blood flow can be assessed in three dimensions to provide your health care profession with specific information to help make the best treatment decisions. Limitations for cardiac magnetic resonance include claustrophobia and implanted metallic devices/objects (aka pacemakers, foreign metal bodies/shrapnel).
  3. Three dimensional rotational angiography imaging (DynaCT) – utilizing a sophisticated rapidly rotating fluoroscopy camera in our hybrid operating room, we are able to obtain near-real time large volume three dimensional images of the heart and vessels. These images can then be used to guide care providers during complex cardiovascular procedures, including minimally invasive transcatheter heart valve replacement
  4. Nuclear medicine cardiac imaging – utilizes an injection of a small amount of radioactive tracer into an intravenous line (IV) to obtain photos of the heart using a specialized camera while you are lying down. There are several variations to this examination as outlined below and the exam is typically used to assess heart function, assess blood flow in heart vessels, and evaluate heart muscle viability.
    • Treadmill nuclear imaging
    • Pharmacologic nuclear stress imaging
    • Gated blood pool imaging
    • Delayed perfusion viability study
    • Cardiac PET (positron emission tomography)