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Cardiac Imaging

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Contact the Heart Center

When your child has a heart condition, you probably have a lot of questions, especially when it comes to treatment. Cardiac imaging can help doctors answer many of those questions. From inflammation and scarring to tumors, we examine every aspect of heart functioning so we can customize a treatment plan that is just right for your child.

Why Children’s Health℠?

Performing more than 13,000 cardiac imaging tests every year, Children’s Health℠ quickly and accurately diagnoses heart problems. Special equipment and advanced technology help us examine your child’s heart in exquisite detail while also looking out for their safety and comfort.

Conditions We Treat

We use cardiac imaging to diagnose and plan treatments for a variety of conditions for congenital heart defects, common heart problems and rare heart problems. 

View a list of all conditions we treat.

Expert Care

  • Advanced echo: We are the only hospital in North Texas certified in all methods of echocardiography, and offering advanced echo testing including stress echoes and special testing for fetal heart conditions.
  • Latest CT technology: We perform CT scans using the latest equipment with split-second scanning capabilities. This helps us see tiny details very clearly while also reducing your child’s radiation exposure.
  • Specialized heart MRI: We are one of few hospitals in the country with an MRI scanner dedicated exclusively to heart patients.
  • Rapid testing: With dedicated testing equipment and cardiac imaging experts, your child can get the tests he or she needs within a few days. We’re available around the clock to handle emergencies.
  • Child-friendly testing: We offer a child-centered testing environment. In many cases, your child will not need sedation and you can stay with them during their test. If your child gets anxious or scared, we work with them to ease their fears while still getting the best possible images.
  • Dedicated heart specialists: All specialists are from UT Southwestern, with years of experience and advanced training in pediatric cardiac imaging. This level of experience is unique to Children’s.
  • Experienced team: The cardiac imaging team also includes dedicated technicians and sonographers with extensive experience and training.
  • Personalized care: Working with specialists across the Heart Center, we provide seamless care. Cardiac imaging specialists help diagnose your child’s condition and also contribute their expertise to customized treatment plans for each child.
  • Highly accurate scans: Performing accurate scans is one of our top priorities. We use techniques developed through years of experience and specialized training to get the best images even in our tiniest patients as well as children who have a hard time sitting still.

Treatments

Cardiac imaging tests provide important details about your child’s heart and help us know more about their condition so we can recommend the best treatment.

  • Angiography: Using catheters (thin, spaghetti-like tubes) and special dye, we examine the flow of blood through and around your child’s heart. We also look at how well your child’s heart valves are working.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) scan: A scanner quickly takes X-ray pictures from all angles of your child’s heart. Then, with the help of special software we put the pictures back together to produce high-definition, three-dimensional images.
  • Fetal echocardiogram (echo): This special ultrasound test looks at heart structures and functioning in an unborn baby (fetus). A fetal echo provides us with important information about potential problems and causes no harm to your baby.
  • Intracardiac echo: Using a catheter (thin, spaghetti like tube) to access your child’s heart, a tiny ultrasound sensor produces very detailed images. We use intracardiac echo when we need more detail than a standard transthoracic echo can provide.
  • MRI: Using radio waves and magnets we produce three-dimensional images of your child’s heart structures. MRI images help us look at things like swelling of the heart muscle and characteristics of any scarring your child may have. We have a special MRI scanner that allows children to watch movies during their test.
  • Stress echo: With the help of special medication that simulates the effect of exercise, this test helps detect heart problems that only happen when your child is active.
  • Transesophageal echo (TEE): Inserting a thin flexible tube down your child’s throat to their esophagus, we examine the size and shape of their heart. Because the esophagus is directly behind the heart, this test allows us to pinpoint defects with great precision. We give your child medicine to put them to sleep for this test.
  • Transthoracic echo (TTE): Using sound waves, we create high-resolution moving pictures of your child’s heart. This is the most common form of echocardiogram.

Your child’s doctor will let you know which test or tests are appropriate.