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Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital adds new cardiac MRI

photo of Abrazo Heart hospital officials
Dr. Nickalaus Gramze and Nathan Worley led a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new cardiac MRI at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital. (File Photos/

New imaging system boosts care at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

A new, advanced cardiac MRI system now online at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital helps doctors diagnose advanced or complex heart conditions in patients from across the Valley, Abrazo Health officials report.

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to look at the heart’s blood vessels, blood flows and measure heart function. The new cardiac MRI at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital features advanced technology and software that provides higher quality 2D and 3D images faster than previous iterations, according to a press release.

Software designed expressly for cardiac MRI is what sets this machine apart from normal MRI, said Dr. Nickalaus Gramze, a cardiologist and medical director of cardiac imaging at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital.

“I just had a patient with heart failure believed to be due to her breast cancer chemotherapy,” Dr. Gramze said in a prepared statement. “It turns out she had a significant heart attack previously that she was unaware of. With this information we can modify her treatment in an attempt to prevent future heart attacks. The reverse could be true for a different patient.”

Cardiac MRI is able to identify normal muscle from scar tissue, observe normal and abnormal blood flow within the heart, measure blood flow across the heart valves and in arteries, identify tumors and masses, and create 3D models to aid in understanding of each individual’s unique anatomy and physiology, Dr. Gramze explains.

It can also be used to see the major arteries within the body to assess for aneurysms or blockages. MRI technology can do all this without radiation exposure or potentially dangerous iodine-based contrast use.

“Cardiac MRI requires a special skill-set for cardiovascular exams. An added benefit is this is a wide-bore scanner. While not an open MRI, the new equipment allows us to accommodate larger patients with improved comfort and less claustrophobia,” said Hospital President Nathan Worley.

Because an MRI magnet is “always on,” safety precautions are needed. Special screening is required of all individuals to ensure no metal objects are present, and MRI room walls are constructed with radio frequency shielding to mitigate the strong magnetic pull.

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