Cardiac Imaging / Echocardiography / MRI/CT
Our advanced technologies allow our doctors to use ultrasound (which uses sound waves) to diagnose congenital heart disease non-invasively. Standard transthoracic (meaning "through the chest") echocardiography studies are performed routinely on nearly 4,000 infants and children annually. Two-dimensional videos of the heart with color mapping of blood flow through it allow the echocardiographer to understand precisely the structure and function of the heart.
Echocardiography assists the surgical team in planning the surgery on a patient. It's also helpful in monitoring a patient after surgery. In some cases, however, echocardiography has eliminated the need for more invasive studies.
Learn more about the echocardiography laboratory at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
UltraFast CT Scan
Newer techniques such as Ultra Fast CT Scans, which can produce 3-dimensional images of the heart and surrounding blood vessels, will allow the cardiologist to give the surgeon a complete three-dimensional view of the inside and outside of the heart in any angle or plane in which they are interested.
An angiography is an X-ray examination of the blood vessels or chambers of the heart. A tube is inserted either in the groin or the arm. When positioned either in the heart or at the beginning of the arteries supplying the heart, a special fluid (called a contrast medium or dye) is injected. This fluid is visible by X-ray and the pictures that are obtained are called angiograms.
Learn more about cardiac catheterization and angiography at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
Echo-assisted Open Heart Surgery
Echocardiography studies are now performed in the operating room to assist the surgeon during cardiac surgery (via transesophogeal echocardiography, whereby a doctor will place a probe down the esophagus while the child is under anesthesia). This technique allows the cardiologist to report to the surgeons immediately if there is a problem or if something else needs to be done, all before the child leaves the operating room. This team approach to the surgery has improved results and dramatically decreased complications after surgery.
Learn more about our other surgical services.