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At Children’s National, we don’t just use the latest technology—we are active in developing newer and safer ways to perform imaging scans. For example, our team pioneered the use of digital echocardiography, a noninvasive ultrasound of the heart. We performed the nation’s first Interventional Cardiac MRI right heart catheterization on a pediatric patient in 2015. At Children’s National, our heart specialists perform thousands of imaging scans every year, giving us unparalleled experience and expertise.

Meet the Team

Our pediatric specialists provide personalized care for your child’s physical, mental and emotional health needs.

Contact Information

For appointments, please call 1-888-884-BEAR (2327) and for information, call 202-476-2020.

Cardiac Imaging at Children’s: Why Choose Us

Our advanced, sophisticated imaging labs, including our echocardiography laboratory and dedicated cardiac magnetic resonance imaging laboratory, are some of the busiest in the nation. We perform more than 18,000 echocardiograph studies and hundreds of MRI scans per year. In 2018, we performed 469 cardiac MRI's and 26 cardiac CT's.

Features of our imaging labs include: 

  • Highly specialized team: Our team has expertise in the full spectrum of cardiac imaging, including transesophageal, prenatal, three-dimensional, intracardiac, and stress echocardiography, as well as vascular ultrasound and cardiac MRI.
  • Dedicated suites: We designed our imaging labs to provide the most advanced heart studies. Our new Interventional Cardiac MRI program has developed innovative techniques that previously were only available at the NIH campus. For example, the X-ray MRI (XMR) suite combines a catheterization laboratory with an MRI system to allow for superior imaging during catheterization procedures.
  • High volume: Our team performs more than 18,000 echocardiograph studies per year and nearly 3,000 fetal echocardiographs. In addition, we perform hundreds of cardiac MRIs every year. What do these numbers mean for you? High volume means that we have a superior depth of expertise, ensuring we perform these studies safely and accurately.
  • World-renowned experts: Some of the world’s leading experts in echocardiograph are working right here at Children’s, using and developing advanced echocardiograph technology. In addition, we collaborate with researchers and physicians at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute/National Institutes of Health (NHLBI/NIH) to advance the field of cardiac MRI.

Echocardiography at Children’s

Echocardiography, sometimes called echocardiogram, is an ultrasound of the heart. Children’s pediatric echocardiography laboratory, the world’s first, is one of the busiest in the United States, performing more than 18,000 studies annually. We are a national leader in noninvasive imaging of congenital heart disease.

Our renowned lab includes:

During an echocardiogram

Cardiac MRI

MRI is a noninvasive imaging scan that uses powerful magnetic technology to get clear, detailed pictures of your child’s heart structure and function. In addition to our sophisticated lab, we partner with National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. Together, we are working to develop new MRI techniques to help us diagnose and treat children and adults with congenital heart disease.

We use cardiac MRI to:

We perform cardiac MRI scans in our dedicated lab. During the scan:

Interventional Cardiac MRI (ICMR) Program

Through a partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we offer an Interventional Cardiac MRI for our patients. This is a specialized cardiac-specific MRI suite we use for diagnosis, evaluation, and intervention of newborns and children with congenital heart disease. One of the main advantages of MRI scans is that children are not exposed to the radiation of X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans. As children with congenital heart defects are thriving, living longer and fuller lives than ever before, it is increasingly important that we are able to monitor their health in the safest way possible. Additionally, we can perform MRI and cardiac catheterization procedures on the same day. This reduces the need for sedation and multiple procedures.

Features of this program include:

The Future of Pediatric Cardiac MRI

Children’s National is currently using the next generation of imaging: XFM scans, which combine X-ray with MRI. In these studies, we use radiation-free CMR images to guide cardiac catheterization in order to minimize radiation requirements. Future developments include undergoing cardiac catheterization entirely in the CMR scanner, which will dramatically minimize X-ray exposure.

Cardiac Imaging Outcomes Data

The non-invasive imaging program at Children’s National uses the latest technology to take the most advanced images of our pediatric patients’ hearts. Learn how many pediatric patients undergo cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scans each year.

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