MUSC medical center

Cardiovascular Imaging

The division of Cardiovascular Imaging interprets cross sectional imaging studies of the heart and vascular system using Computed Tomography (CT or "CAT" scans) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with a volume of more than 2,500 studies each year. Both CT and MRI are non-invasive imaging modalities, meaning that no catheterization is required. MUSC operates the most up-to-date, cutting edge imaging equipment to ensure optimal diagnostic quality in patient care while also minimizing patient exposure to ionizing radiation. In addition, MUSC has long-standing experience in performing and interpreting cardiovascular imaging studies with unparalleled expertise in the Lowcountry and beyond.

In most instances, imaging studies are performed with contrast enhancement (iodine-based for CT, gadolinium-based for MRI), which is injected through a small intravenous access in an arm vein. CT scans are used primarily to evaluate vascular structures, such as the coronary arteries or the aorta and its branch vessels. The primary strength of MRI is tissue characterization and its ability to evaluate the heart muscle for function, perfusion and viability.  MRI is also helpful in valvular and congenital heart disease.

Typically, a CT scan, which uses x-ray technology, takes 10-20 seconds to perform. The patient will spend about 20 minutes in the CT scanner suite. Complete cardiovascular MRI studies typically require about 40 minutes. Common reasons for performing CT studies are known or suspected narrowing or blockage of coronary arteries, renal arteries, or mesenteric arteries, and diseases of the aorta (dissection, aneurysm). In some patients CT scans may be a good alternative to cardiac catheterization for non-invasive evaluation of the heart vessels' patency.  Typical reasons for performing MR studies include known or suspected congenital cardiovascular anomalies, cardiac valve abnormalities, or evaluation of coronary artery disease by assessing cardiac function, perfusion and the amount of viable heart tissue prior to bypass surgery. MR can also be used to diagnose diseases of the aorta and its branch vessels as well as the vasculature of the upper and lower extremity for known or suspected peripheral vascular disease.

Cardiovascular Imaging Faculty

Joseph Schoepf, M.D.
Director, Cardiovascular Imaging

Pal Suranyi, M.D., Ph.D.

Philip Costello, M.D.

Bayne Selby, M.D.
James Ravenel, M.D.
Andrew Hardie, M.D.
Anthony Hlavacek, M.D. (Pediatric Cardiology)
Benjamin Wince, M.D. (Adult Cardiology)
Peter Zwerner, M.D. (Adult Cardiology)

© Medical University of South Carolina | 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425