Cardiac Imaging

Cardiac imaging enables physicians to rule out or validate evidence of coronary artery disease and provide early, effective treatments for patients. A variety of imaging methods are used at the Heart Institute. Each has advantages and helps physicians understand how best to treat aspects of heart disease. The ultimate goal is to ensure the best care for patients today and tomorrow.

A transdisciplinary training environment is in place for research students and cardiology fellows who are mentored for future leadership positions. Initiatives involve co-supervisions, cross-disciplinary collaborative research with physicians and scientists, structured courses and student-based scientific retreats.

Technicians and technologists from across Canada train at the Heart Institute because it is a uniquely dedicated cardiac centre.

Programs & Units 

Cardiac Computed Tomography and Radiology

Cardiac CT is an X-ray technology that provides three-dimensional images of coronary arteries. CT shows the heart one slice at a time. A computer compiles the reconstructed images, providing a view inside the heart from different angles. Researchers are evaluating the accuracy of CT as an alternate to more invasive catheterization techniques for identifying blocked arteries and other heart problems.

Positron Emission Tomography

Cardiac PET is a non-invasive nuclear imaging procedure that measures cellular activity in the heart. We use PET for cardiac diagnosis and viability studies to characterize the effect of repairs such as surgery and other procedures including implanted devices.

Our on-site cyclotron, a compact accelerator, lets us produce many of our own medical isotopes, particularly for PET imaging. Isotope production at the Heart Institute is especially beneficial in light of occasional shutdowns of the Canadian reactor that produces a substantial supply of the world’s leading isotope used in imaging technology.

Nuclear Cardiology

Our SPECT gamma cameras conduct non-invasive tests for evaluating heart disease. A small amount of radioactive substance is injected as a tracer. Images of the heart at work and at rest are studied identify specific deficiencies. Our Nuclear Cardiology Program is the largest such clinical program in Canada.

Magnetic Resonance

Magnetic resonance (MR) uses a strong magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and computer processing to create detailed images internal body structures. MR images allow physicians to examine the function of the heart, valves, major vessels, and surrounding structures, measure a patient's progress during recovery, and determine the extent of damage causes by a heart attack or other heart illnesses. The Heart Institute’s MR program is a joint is a collaborative effort with The Ottawa Hospital.

Stress Testing

The Stress Laboratory conducts physiologic and pharmacological stress testing to evaluate cardiovascular disease and its response to therapy. Stress is induced by exercise or, less commonly, by pharmaceuticals.

Research 

Cardiac Imaging conducts numerous clinical studies and provides basic and translational research facilities for many Heart Institute programs, national organizations and government agencies. Several pilot projects under way include a cardiac fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET registry to evaluate, standardize and review the use of these resources for patients undergoing PET in Ontario. Other projects involve:

  • Evaluation, cost and use of advanced imaging technologies
  • Development and evaluation of alternative isotopes
  • Development of software, algorithms and protocols to ensure optimal imaging
  • Innovative imaging methods for patients with disorders such as arrhythmias, heart attack, and heart failure
  • Small animal imaging

For more information, see the Non-invasive Cardiovascular Imaging Research Cluster.

Education 

A transdisciplinary training environment is in place for research students and cardiology fellows who are mentored for future leadership positions. Initiatives involve co-supervisions, cross-disciplinary collaborative research with physicians and scientists, structured courses and student-based scientific retreats.

Technicians and technologists from across Canada train at the Heart Institute because it is a uniquely dedicated cardiac centre.

For more information, see Cardiology education.

Team 
  • Ian Paterson, MD, FRCPC
    Medical Director, Cardiac Imaging
  • Rick Heroux
    Director, Cardiac Imaging
  • Rob Beanlands, MD
    Medical Director, PET
  • Ian Burwash, MD
    Medical Director, Echocardiography
  • Benjamin Chow, MD, and Carole Dennie, MD
    Medical Directors Cardiac CT
  • Ian Paterson, MD, and Carole Dennie, MD
    Medical Directors, Cardiac MRI