THE INSTITUTE + Cardiology & Children’s National Heart Institute

Interventional Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (ICMR) Program

Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect. About one percent of newborns are born with a heart condition. The Heart Institute at Children’s National assesses and/or treats thousands of babies, children, and young adults each year. The Heart Institute includes a robust cardiac fetal imaging program with specialized care for newborns diagnosed in utero. Identifying and repairing heart defects in children or infants requires overcoming unique challenges, such as working on a smaller and more delicate heart, the difficulty in having children lie still or hold their breath for imaging procedures. There also is increased sensitivity to radiation damage from X-rays, and the need for devices like incubators.

Kanishka Ratnayaka, MD, and Charles Berul, MD, members of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, and their team successfully renewed their NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Interventional Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (ICMR) contract. This program contributes to the advancement of diagnostic and interventional cardiac magnetic resonance imaging techniques in pediatric cardiology and adults with congenital heart disease. The ICMR program brings together researchers, clinicians, engineers, and physicists to provide more precise and less invasive diagnostics and treatment. The ICMR team’s work translates to more streamlined use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is radiation-free. 

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