A new generation of advanced imaging technology
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
A cardiac computed tomography scan, commonly called a cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create detailed three-dimensional views of your heart and blood vessels.
We have one of the highest volume and most advanced cardiac imaging programs in the mid-Atlantic region. Because of this experience, we are able to quickly recognize even the most rare abnormalities, resulting in a more accurate diagnosis. Our Cardiac CT Core Lab, part of our Cardiovascular Core Laboratories provides internationally recognized expertise in interpreting and analyzing the results of these tests.
Our scanner, is faster and provides sharper and more detailed images than a traditional CT scanner. At this speed, highly accurate images of fast-moving organs like the heart can be captured. You are also exposed to lower levels of radiation during scanning.
What to expect from a cardiac CT
Your doctor may give you a beta-blocker before the test to slow your heart so clearer pictures can be taken. You’ll lie down on a table, at which time a contrast dye will be injected into a vein in your arm. The dye highlights your blood vessels and allows for clearer pictures.
The table will be moved into the CT machine, which looks like a giant tunnel. The machine will make soft clicking or whirring sounds as it takes pictures. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds. The scan should take 10 to 15 minutes, but the whole process may take up to an hour if you need to wait for the beta-blocker to take effect.
Your scan will be supervised by a physician in our Cardiac CT Lab imaging suite. Expert cardiologists, radiologists, cardiac-specialized radiology technologists, a cardiac nurse and a cardiovascular 3-D imaging technologist work together in the lab.
As with any X-ray, there is some exposure to radiation, although the levels used cardiac CTs are considered safe for adults. Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant, as it may not be safe for a developing fetus. Some people may have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. Let your doctor know if you’re uncomfortable in tight spaces, as medication may help you relax during the test.
Once the cardiac CT is done, you should be able to go back to your normal activities. Your doctor will review the results and discuss with you what the images showed.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm treatments include monitoring, medication or surgery to place a graft that reduces pressure on the walls of the aorta where the aneurysm exists.
Aneurysm surgery is used to repair bulges in blood vessels after they have ruptured or to prevent them from rupturing. Surgery may take several approaches: traditional open surgery, a minimally invasive endovascular method or a hybrid of the two.
Angioplasty improves blood flow through the arteries by clearing plaque buildup.
Several methods can be used to correct anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery (ALCAPA), in which the left coronary artery branches off from the pulmonary artery instead of the aorta.
Treating an aortic dissection can include medication, minimally invasive procedures or open surgery.
Aortic root surgery is a complex procedure used to treat damage to the aorta and the aortic valve caused by an aortic root aneurysm.
Aortic surgery describes a variety of procedures to treat conditions that affect the aorta.
Balloon valvuloplasty improves blood flow through the heart to the lungs and body by opening a stiff heart valve.
Cardiac implant closure devices are used to repair defects that allow blood to flow through a hole connecting the chambers of the heart.
Carotid artery stenting is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small mesh tube is placed in a narrowed artery to support and keep it open.
Complex IVC filter removal procedures are needed when a filter in the inferior vena cava has become embedded in the vessel wall or penetrated the vein.
Treatments for congenital heart conditions range from atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale closures to cardiac ablations and heart valve replacements to heart transplants.
Coronary artery bypass surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), restores normal blood flow through narrowed or blocked coronary arteries by using a healthy blood vessel taken from your leg, arm or chest to create a detour around the problem area.
Coronary artery stents are small mesh tubes placed within the artery to prevent blockages and allow better blood flow.
Endovascular complex repair of thoracoabdominal aneurysms is a minimally invasive treatment that involves smaller incisions, less pain and faster recovery than traditional open surgery for these aneurysms, which often can be difficult to treat.
Endovascular repair of a thoracic aortic aneurysm is a catheter-based procedure to place a stent within the aorta to support weakened tissue.
Fenestrated aortic aneurysm repair is a procedure using custom stents to treat aneurysms that affect multiple branches of the aorta.
Surgical treatments for heart failure can include coronary bypass surgery, mechanical support devices and heart transplants.
Treatments for heart failure such as medications, surgery and mechanical devices vary based on the cause and severity of your condition.
Heart surgery is an option to treat many heart conditions. You may need heart surgery either as a lifesaving procedure or when other treatments haven’t worked.
A heart transplant replaces a diseased, failing heart with a healthier heart from a donor.
Iliac branch aneurysm repair is a minimally invasive treatment that involves smaller incisions, less pain and faster recovery than traditional open surgery.
Infective endocarditis surgery is the removal of infected heart tissue and repair or replacement of damaged heart valves.
Intestinal PAD treatment options include medication, minimally invasive procedures and surgery.
Intracoronary radiation therapy is an innovative treatment that uses radiation to prevent scar tissue buildup in the arteries after an angioplasty or stent placement.
An IVC filter is a small, wiry device that is placed within the inferior vena cava (a large vein) to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs.
A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) helps the heart pump blood more effectively during end-stage heart failure.
During left ventricular reconstructive surgery, the left ventricle is reshaped to remove scar tissue caused by heart failure.
Mesenteric artery bypass improves blood flow to the intestines by creating an alternate route around a narrow or blocked portion of the artery.
Minimally invasive heart surgery is used whenever possible to reduce risks and shorten recovery time after surgery to treat a variety of conditions.
MitraClip is a device our doctors use to treat mitral insufficiency, also known as mitral regurgitation.
Mitral valve disease treatments may include medication, minimally invasive procedures and surgery to treat a damaged valve.
Mitral valvuloplasty improves blood flow through the heart to the lungs and body by opening a narrow or stiff heart valve.
Off-pump bypass surgery, also known as beating-heart bypass surgery, is an option for many patients to have coronary artery bypass surgery without needing to stop the heart or lungs during the procedure.
Percutaneous valve procedures use catheter-based methods to replace a damaged heart valve and are less invasive than traditional open-heart surgeries.
Treatment for pulmonary embolisms can include medication to dissolve and prevent blood clots and surgical procedures to remove them.
Pulmonary valve repair and replacement procedures include minimally invasive and traditional surgery as well as several types of replacement material.
Rheolytic thrombectomy uses a jet of saline delivered through a catheter to break up a blood clot.
Subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (S-ICD) deliver electrical shocks to regulate your heart during ventricular arrhythmias.
Structural heart and valve disease treatments address defects or abnormalities with the heart’s muscle or valves with or without surgery.
Learn how MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute uses thoracic outlet decompression to treat thoracic outlet syndrome.
Thrombolysis, also known as thrombolytic therapy, is a treatment to dissolve or break up dangerous blood clots that can cause heart attacks, strokes and other conditions.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive option to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly and blocks the flow of blood.
Transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement (TPVR) is a minimally invasive option to replace a damaged pulmonary valve that reduces blood flow from the heart to the lungs.
Valve disease treatments include monitoring, medication or surgery to repair or replace a damaged valve.
Valve sparing surgery is a procedure to repair an aortic root aneurysm without replacing the aortic valve.
Vascular disease treatments address conditions that affect the blood vessels, which can cause blood flow to become decreased, interrupted or slowed.
Venous blood clot treatments may include medications or advanced catheter-based procedures to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of blood clots.
Venous disease treatment may include medications, minimally invasive and surgical procedures to improve blood flow and circulation.
Venous stenting uses a wire mesh tube placed within a vein to widen it and improve blood flow.
A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a mechanical circulatory support device, helps the heart pump blood more effectively during end-stage heart failure.
We can implant a WATCHMAN device to permanently seal off the left atrial appendage (LAA), which is a small pouch in the top left chamber of the heart that is the site of almost all stroke-causing blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation (AFib).