Treatment Programs

photo

Heart Imaging

The Heart Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides comprehensive diagnostic cardiac imaging, using state-of-the-art CT and MRI technology and with expert interpretation by specialty-trained cardiovascular radiologists.

Dedicated to providing comprehensive imaging for patients facing all types of heart disorders and disease, the Heart Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides patients with:

  • A full suite of exams including cardiac CT, cardiac MRI, and stress testing.
  • Leading-edge technology, including the latest MRI and CT scanners, as well as sophisticated 3D modeling.
  • Tight coordination with experts across Mass General. In particular, our cardiac imaging team is part of the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, which brings together experts from multiple disciplines to provide all-inclusive heart care.

Specialist radiologists, dedicated to your care

Every exam is read and interpreted by a cardiac-imaging specialist: an expert who has extensive training and real-world experience diagnosing heart disorders.

The Heart Imaging Program gives patients access to the expertise of dedicated cardiovascular radiologists from the Cardiovascular Imaging division of the Mass General Department of Radiology, as well as cardiologists from the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center who have specialty training in cardiac imaging. These experts all have specialty training in the cardiovascular system, as well as extensive training in the use of specific types of imaging, such as CT and MRI. These doctors hold leadership positions in key professional societies that set guidelines for exam procedures and also play leadership roles in many research projects that advance the state-of-the-art in cardiac imaging.

Coordinated care

We work in close consultation with your doctor to schedule and plan your exam. Then we provide swift results, including a written report and image access (if your doctor desires), within 48 to 72 hours.

Our radiologists work as part of the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, a multidisciplinary program that unites expert medical professionals from Imaging, Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Cardiac Anesthesia and Cardiac Nursing to provide patients with the very best in cardiac care.

Emphasis on safety

Our commitment to safety extends through everything we do, from exam-room procedures to leading-edge research. We pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure—without giving up image quality. We employ physicists and engineers to calibrate and maintain our equipment at the highest level, and we invest to replace outmoded equipment and bring the latest technology to our patients.

The Heart Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers diagnostic exams for the following conditions.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An abdominal aortic aneurysm, also called AAA or triple A, is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta (the largest artery in the body) resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning greater than 50 percent of the normal diameter (width).

Angina Pectoris

Angina pectoris (or simply angina) is recurring chest pain or discomfort that happens when some part of the heart does not receive enough blood and oxygen.

Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias are heart rhythm disorders that may originate in the atria (the receiving chambers of the heart) or the ventricles (the pumping chambers of the heart).

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where the electrical signals in the atria (the two small chambers of the heart) are fired in a very fast and uncontrolled manner.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is any disease of the heart muscle in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively.

Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid artery disease, also called carotid artery stenosis, occurs when the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the brain, become narrowed.

Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects occur when the heart or related blood vessels do not develop properly before or at birth.

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease occurs when cholesterol builds up within the walls of the heart’s arteries (coronary arteries), forming what is called plaque.

Gout

Gout is characterized by inflamed, painful joints due to the formation of crystal deposits at the joints.

Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

Heart Failure

Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the needs of the body's other organs.

Heart Murmur

Heart murmurs are additional sounds made by blood flowing through the heart as it beats. Many murmurs are harmless (innocent), but some abnormal murmurs might signal a heart problem.

Heart Valve Diseases

The heart’s valves can have one of two malfunctions - regurgitation (when the valve does not completely close) or stenosis (a narrowing of the valve).

High Blood Pressure / Hypertension

Blood pressure, measured with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope by a nurse or other health care provider, is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes the presence of a cluster of risk factors specific for cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke.

Obesity

Obesity increases the risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

Pericarditis

Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac (membrane) that surrounds the heart.

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that develops in a blood vessel elsewhere in the body (most commonly from the leg), travels to an artery in the lung, and forms an occlusion (blockage) of the artery.

Rheumatic Heart Disease

Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which permanent damage to heart valves is caused by rheumatic fever.

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

A thoracic aortic aneurysm, also called TAA, is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the thoracic aorta (the largest artery in the body), resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning.

Mass General Imaging reduces cardiac CT radiation doses 75 percent

Radiation-reduction case study: Cardiovascular imaging team reduces radiation dose for cardiac CT angiography by employing new scanner technology and carefully tailoring each exam to the patient.

Cardiac CT makes strong predictions of major heart trouble

Cardiac CT gives emergency physicians the ability to predict major adverse cardiac events (MACE) in patients presenting with chest pain, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Thrall: Healthcare IT can help rads tackle radiation exposure

It's imperative that radiologists proactively find ways to keep radiation dose to a minimum, and healthcare IT can help, according to Dr. James H. Thrall, who spoke on the topic this week at the New York Medical Imaging Informatics Symposium.

Study demonstrates the feasibility of evaluating myofibers after stem cell therapy in the heart

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Heart, Vascular and Stroke Care has taken a giant leap toward the possibility of noninvasively assessing the efficacy of stem cell therapy in the heart.

An advanced cardiac CT scanner

Physicians at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center use leading-edge technology to identify possible cardiac abnormalities.

Images of Imaging: CT (computed tomography)

Get an inside look at CT exams at Mass General Imaging. Learn about CT technology, the professionals who guide patients through the exam process, and the specialty-trained radiologists who interpret every scan.

Images of Imaging: MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Learn about MRI exams at Mass General Imaging. See what MRI scanners and images look like, understand MRI safety, and learn about the specialty-trained radiologists who interpret every scan.

Webster Center takes on radiation-dose reduction

Dr. James H. Thrall, Department of Radiology chairman emeritus, discusses The Webster Center for Advanced Research and Education in Radiation, a unique research effort dedicated to reducing radiation dose for every exam Mass General Imaging performs.

Radiation reduction: Our ongoing commitment

As CT (computed tomography) technology has transformed the practice of medicine, Mass General Imaging has dedicated itself to making sure each exam exposes the patient to the lowest achievable amount of radiation. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, discusses our decade-long commitment—and our success—regarding this issue.

Decision tools support radiation-reduction efforts

One effective way to reduce radiation exposure is to avoid unnecessary exams. That's why Mass General Imaging has been a leader in developing software tools that guide referring physicians by not only making sure the selected exam matches the patient's needs but also suggesting radiation-free alternatives when appropriate.

Imaging specialists, focused on you

Each radiologist at Mass General Imaging is a specialist in a particular area of the body. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how patients benefit from the additional specialty training our physicians have completed.

Imaging technology enables non-surgical treatments

Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how the ability to see deep inside the body has driven the development of minimally invasive methods of treatment—a trend in which Mass General Imaging has played a key role.

patient

Discover the Imaging patient experience

Mass General offers specialty-trained radiologists, leading-edge technology and a caring staff that's committed to patient safety and comfort.

patient

Imaging experts, focused on you

Every scan at Mass General Imaging is read by a radiologist with specialty training in the area of the body being studied.