Cardiovascular Imaging

Clinical Heart and Vascular Center

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-9729

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s experienced heart doctors use a variety of advanced imaging technologies to help them visualize and appropriately treat all types of cardiovascular conditions. 

Our team is a nationally recognized leader in the development and use of advanced cardiovascular imaging techniques.

Advanced Technologies to Visualize and Care for the Heart

Heart doctors use advanced cardiovascular imaging techniques to evaluate, diagnose, and aid in the treatment of heart disease.

UT Southwestern’s physician scientists have pioneered several sophisticated cardiovascular imaging technologies. These include:

  • Rapid cardiac MRI: Uses modified MRI systems to create moving pictures of the beating heart to guide diagnosis
  • Single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT): Uses 3-D images to monitor blood supply to the heart

Our heart doctors thoroughly review all imaging studies, making careful treatment recommendations based on all available information. Our team is skilled in both interpreting cardiovascular images and putting them into clinical use to deliver the best possible care to our patients.

Conditions We Diagnose with Cardiovascular Imaging

Our highly skilled heart specialists evaluate people who have been diagnosed with or are suspected to have heart conditions, using cardiovascular imaging such as:

  • Cardiac catheterization: This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a camera at the end of a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is used to examine the heart. Cardiac catheters also can be used to administer drugs and unblock narrowed coronary arteries.
  • Computed tomography (CT): Cardiac CT imaging combines X-rays and computer technology to create detailed, cross-sectional views of the heart and surrounding arteries.
  • Coronary CT angiography: This type of CT scan uses contrasting dyes to deliver even greater detail about the patient’s cardiovascular structures.
  • Echocardiography (echo or cardiac ultrasound): An echocardiogram is a noninvasive procedure that provides images of the heart valves and chambers. It can be used to determine the presence of heart disease and measure the effectiveness of treatments. Types of echocardiography include:

    • Stress echocardiogram: This study, often used to detect coronary artery disease, shows how well the heart pumps blood before and after a cardiac stress test.
    • 3-D echocardiogram: This test produces highly detailed images that help assess heart valve function and congenital heart conditions.
    • Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE): This study uses an external probe to get detailed images of the heart.
    • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): This test involves a probe that is passed down the throat to get clearer, unobstructed images of the heart.
  • Electrophysiology (EP) testing: Used to explore heart rhythm abnormalities and guide their treatments, EP testing enables doctors to record and analyze the heart’s electrical activity.
  • Cardiac MRI: Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets – not radiation – to create detailed images of the heart and surrounding blood vessels. An advanced form of this test, rapid cardiac MRI, uses modified MRI systems to create moving pictures of a beating heart.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)/nuclear heart imaging: PET/nuclear heart scans use a safe, radioactive substance that is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to create detailed 3-D images of the heart. PET can be used to monitor blood flow and evaluate the condition of the heart.
  • Multiple-gated acquisition (MUGA) scan: MUGA is a state-of-the-art nuclear imaging study to evaluate whether the heart is pumping blood properly.

Support Services

UT Southwestern’s cardiac rehabilitation specialists create customized plans that integrate proper nutrition, exercise, and, if necessary, nicotine cessation into patients’ lifestyles to improve their cardiovascular health. 

Clinical Trials

As one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a number of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease. 

Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials might receive treatments years before they are available to the public.