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.