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In our hybrid cardiac MRI suite, we are able to perform MRI and a catheterization procedure at the same time. This reduces the amount of sedation your child needs.
A magnetic resonance imaging scan of the heart, called cardiac MRI, is an important tool for diagnosing and even treating congenital heart disease.
Cardiac MRI is a noninvasive imaging procedure that uses magnetic technology, not radiation, to create detailed images of the heart. The procedure provides your child’s heart team with high-resolution images of the moving heart and blood vessels, so we can see how the heart looks and functions.
At Children’s National Heart Institute, our specialized hybrid MRI suite combines MRI and cardiac catheterization, allowing us to obtain detailed diagnostic images and perform cardiac catheterizations in the least invasive, safest way possible.
In a partnership with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, we're also enhancing the safety of imaging through MRI. The joint team’s work will translate clinically to more streamlined use of MRI, which is radiation-free. The initiative seeks to enhance the speed and quality of MRI machines and reduce the need to sedate children getting an MRI; increasing the capability of MRI to take fetal images; developing better, pediatric-specific catheters for probing the heart and blood vessels; and incorporating an incubator into an MRI scanner to enable procedures on premature babies. Read more about this partnership's work.
Our heart team is pioneering new ways to harness the power of MRI, so we can provide you with the safest, most effective diagnosis and treatment possible. In our hybrid suite, we combine the powerful imaging technology of an MRI with the precision and detail of the catheterization lab.
Features of our cardiac MRI hybrid suite include:
We use cardiac MRI to diagnose congenital heart defects and provide noninvasive evaluation for complex conditions, such as:
While every patient differs, here’s a general idea of what you can expect on the day of the procedure:
The pediatric heart experts at Children’s National in Washington, DC, provide advanced care for unborn babies, children and young adults with heart conditions.
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When Xiomara's mother Elena was 20 weeks pregnant, her ultrasound uncovered something that didn’t look right. Elena was referred to Children’s National Health System to meet with Mary Donofrio, MD, in the Fetal Heart Program who flagged a few potential heart issues and continued to monitor Xiomara throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.
Read More of Xiomara's Story
We provide a healthcare experience designed with kids in mind, and deliver confidence and assurance when parents need it most.
Children’s National Health System tests blood oxygen levels in newborns to detect congenital heart disease.
Routine transthoracic echocardiography is the most common test used in children, fetuses, and newborns to diagnose or rule out heart disease or to follow children already diagnosed with a heart problem.