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Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging

St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center® has one of the largest cardiac MRI programs in the country, performing over 1,200 studies per year. Our mission is three-fold:

  • To provide state-of-the-art clinical imaging for our referring physicians
  • To push the envelope of imaging techniques through research
  • To train future generations of cardiac imagers

Patients are scanned at one of three facilities: outpatients at the DeMatteis Research Center or at 2200 Northern Blvd., a short distance away, and inpatients at St. Francis Hospital. The three magnets are state-of-the-art utilizing two 1.5T and one 3.0 T magnets. The imaging group at St. Francis utilizes the latest technology. Clinical studies are read the same day as performed and results are communicated back to the clinician the same day. Three cardiologists specifically trained for cardiac MRI imaging provide the interpretations. Each of them conducts research protocols, which are available for patient enrollment.

Jane Cao, M.D., Lab Director
Level 3 fellowship in Cardiac MRI, National Institutes of Health

Madhavi Kadiyala, M.D.
Level 3 fellowship, St Francis Hospital/DeMatteis Cardiac Research Center

Timothy Christian, M.D.
Level 3 fellowship in Cardiac MRI, National Institutes of Health

We have an active fellowship program in cardiac imaging where physicians can obtain level 3 training cardiac MRI.

Clinical Indications for Cardiac MRI

There are many uses of MRI in the care of patients with cardiac disease. Below is a list of the major categories for the most common referrals for a cardiac MRI exam.

Coronary artery disease: Cardiac MRI is a powerful and comprehensive imaging modality in patients with known or suspected CAD. MRI can define left ventricular wall motion and systolic function with high accuracy. It can measure infarct size, detect acute events, and diagnose CAD with stress perfusion testing.


Cardiac masses: Physical properties inherent to MRI allow for the characterization of most cardiac masses with high accuracy.


Cardiomyopathies: In many instances, MRI can provide an etiology of ventricular dysfunction in patients with CHF. Infiltrative diseases such as amyloidosis and sarcoidosis can be detected on post-contrast images. T1 mapping allows for further delineation of the extra-cellular space.


Late enhancement in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is prognostically important.


Ventricular Noncompaction: This congenital defect is often unrecognized, but readily identified by CMR. Note the extensive web of noncompacted myocardium toward the apex.


After Surgery

Myocarditis/pericardial disease: Myocarditis can be detected, quantified, and staged in terms of chronicity with MRI. Pericardial thickening, effusions, and constriction can also be evaluated.


The pericardium is well seen on MRI, as well as pericardial effusions.


Right ventricular dysplasia: While rare, CMRI is a valuable test in terms of RV function and fat characterization.


Valvular heart disease: CMR can anatomically define valve structure such as the bicuspid aortic valve (right). However, its strongest use is in the quantitation of regurgitation and shunts (left). This is a rapidly growing field in CMR.


Appointments are generally made through St. Francis Hospital's Central Scheduling Department at (516) 629-2028