Advanced imaging revolutionizes heart disease diagnostics

By Varinder Singh MD

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020, about 697,000 people died from heart disease, which was one in every five deaths. At Lenox Health Greenwich Village (LHGV), we understand that a major part of preventing these deaths is utilizing state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques to successfully identify diseases and treat them early before they turn life-threatening. Noninvasive cardiac imaging technology advances have revolutionized how cardiologists are able to assess for heart disease. Cardiac CT and cardiac MRI are two of these noninvasive technologies that are transforming identification and treatment of heart disease. LHGV offers cutting edge imaging technology and expertise to see the heart in a whole new light and help patients get the answers needed to advance care. 

Varinder Singh MD

Cardiac CT angiography (CCTA) is a test that allows doctors to see the coronary arteries and cardiac structures without needing to insert catheters into the leg or arm. Instead, a small amount of dye is injected through an IV and pictures of the heart are taken with an ultra-fast CT scanner to determine the degree of blockage. As cardiologists have learned, not all blockages are dangerous. The advent of cardiac CT fraction flow reserve (CT-FFR) technology helps differentiate benign from dangerous blockages. These incredibly detailed CT pictures of the heart allow for early detection of heart disease and faster treatments, resulting in the best outcomes for the patient. 

Calcium scoring is a cardiac CT without contrast that is done to look for calcium (a particular type of coronary plaque) in the coronary arteries. This fast test is used by doctors to better identify patients who are at higher risk for heart disease. The results can guide decisions about medical therapy, particularly statin therapy, to help reduced the risk of heart events. 

Cardiac MRI is a specialized examination that cardiologists request when additional information is needed in a broad range of cardiac diseases. Imaging specialists can help answer questions about heart muscle strength, heart valve function and heart muscle scarring. This information helps hone treatment from medications, devices to timing of surgery. Additionally, cardiac MRI is a powerful test to evaluate various forms of birth abnormalities known as congenital heart disease. In addition, cardiac MRI can help diagnosis diseases that weaken the heart muscle know as cardiomyopathies. Advanced cardiac imaging doctors carefully review these images and collaborate with the patient and other physicians to answer questions to ensure best outcome. 

Northwell Health Imaging at LHGV is an 11,000-square-foot, full-service outpatient imaging center in the heart of lower Manhattan. Its Advanced Cardiac Imaging (ACI) Program offers comprehensive noninvasive cardiac evaluations for calcium 

scores, cardiac CT and cardiac MRIs. Our renowned healthcare team is composed of advanced fellowship trained cardiologists and radiologists with specialized additional subspeciality training in reading cardiac CTs and MRIs. The ACI team is also com

posed of technologists, nurses and support staff with experience and knowledge on the unique ins and outs imaging and caring for cardiac patients. 

Varinder Singh, MD is the chair of cardiology at Lenox Hill Hospital 

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