Our specialized team of imaging experts at the Pediatric and Congenital Cardiac Imaging Program uses the latest medical technology to get a glimpse into the smallest hearts, providing images that help doctors diagnose and treat congenital heart defects both before and after birth.
Surgeons, cardiologists, and cardiac radiologists from our Pediatric Congenital Heart Program work together to decide on the best form of imaging for each child. We use this information in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of heart disease in children, from common conditions to rare diagnoses.
Imaging for Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease
Our imaging results provide the information your child’s doctor needs to evaluate the complex anatomy of the heart. We limit your child’s radiation exposure during these tests as much as possible.
Imaging can be done before and after birth. Diagnostic imaging starting as early as 11 weeks gestation is recommended if there is a family history of congenital heart disease or if there are risk factors that increase your baby’s risk of heart defects. Risk factors include an elevated nuchal translucency score, which is a prenatal screening test conducted during the first trimester that is used to detect birth defects such as Down syndrome and congenital heart defects.
fetal echocardiography, which is performed by moving a transducer on a pregnant woman’s abdomen to create a two-dimensional or three-dimensional picture of the beating heart in the womb
transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE), the most common form, which is performed by moving a transducer across your child’s chest to create a two- or three-dimensional picture of the beating heart
transesophageal echocardiogram, in which a small probe with a camera at the end is moved down the throat and used to create clearer images of the heart
CT scan, in which X-ray technology creates three-dimensional cross-sectional images of the heart
MRI scan, in which a magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a computer are used to produce two- or three-dimensional pictures of the heart
three-dimensional modeling, including three-dimensional printing and virtual three-dimensional heart models
We perform more than 7,500 ultrasound imaging studies each year, including more than 2,000 fetal and 300 transesophageal studies. We also perform more than 350 advanced cardiac MRI and CT angiography scans each year for children and adults with congenital heart disease.
Three-Dimensional Cardiac Modeling
We are pioneers in the use of three-dimensional printing in managing congenital heart disease in children. Using advanced imaging technology, our pediatric cardiologist creates a printed model of your child’s heart. These physical models allow the medical team to provide personalized care based on our understanding of your child’s unique anatomy.
Over the last 5 years, we have created more than 40 printed heart models and more than 70 virtual three-dimensional heart models. Using this information, we seamlessly collaborate on the best surgical strategy for your child.
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Our pediatric echocardiography laboratory is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC), which evaluates and ensures the highest standards in imaging. Our doctors also conduct scientific research on the development and optimization of advanced MRI techniques, and on reducing the dose of ionizing radiation for children who need CT scans.