Modern cardiac imaging techniques enable non-invasive, gentle examination of the heart. Diseases of the heart muscle, heart valves, congenital heart defects and circulatory disorders of the heart can be precisely detected.
Transthoracic echocardiography is the basic examination in cardiology. During the examination, the ultrasound probe is placed on the chest at different locations in order to examine the heart from different levels.
Based on this examination, the most important questions regarding the heart structure and function, the heart valves and the circulatory function can already be answered. Also "three-dimensional (3D)" and so-called "speckle tracking strain imaging" are performed.
Global Longitudinal Strain (GLS) application for early detection of subclinical cardiomyopathy in potentially cardiotoxic oncologic chemotherapy or after radiation.
In the case of special issues (e.g., the need for higher resolution), an ultrasound probe is inserted through the esophagus and the heart is examined from the inside.
The image is displayed both two- and three-dimensionally in high resolution quality. Similar to a gastroscopy, the patient is administered a sleeping pill via a vein to minimize discomfort.
With this examination, a statement can be made with high precision about the cardiac perfusion under stress and thus the coronary vessels can be assessed indirectly. The physical stress is applied physically, e.g. by treadmill, or pharmacologically via a dobutamine infusion. It is possible to assign a circulatory disturbance to the individual coronary vessels. To achieve better image quality, a special ultrasound contrast agent is preferably administered via a vein.
In the context of interventional heart procedures, echocardiography provides the cardiac surgeon and interventional cardiologist with important information about the initial situation before surgery , visual guidance, the progress made and the final result achieved. It allows a safe and comprehensive assessment of the outcome through both "live stream" two-dimensional and three-dimensional imaging.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI) is a state-of-the-art, safe, non-invasive imaging examination method that does not involve any x-ray exposure. MRI works by using a magnetic field that acts on the hydrogen atoms (protons) in the body.
In the context of cardiac surgery, echocardiography provides the cardiac surgeon and interventional cardiologist with important information about the initial situation before surgery or intervention and the progress achieved. It allows a safe and comprehensive assessment of the outcome through both two- and three-dimensional imaging.
Ultrasound examination does not involve any risks for the patient.
In very rare cases, transesophageal echocardiography may cause injury to the esophagus through the probe.
The ultrasound contrast medium causes an allergic reaction only in very rare cases (1:10,000).
The use of contrast media in echocardiographic diagnostics is common and yields valuable additional information in the assessment of cardiac function. Basically, two types of echocontrast agents are available, those that do not pass through the pulmonary circulation (PhysiogelR) and so-called transpulmonary or left-sided contrast agents (SonoVueR).
Coronary CT is a non-invasive cardiac X-ray examination for early detection of stable coronary artery disease. Coronary CT offers the possibility of direct anatomical visualization of the coronary vessels and quantification of deposits (plaques) without cardiac catheterization. Possible narrowing of the coronary vessels can be detected.
Myocardial perfusion scintigraphy is a nuclear medical examination procedure for visualizing the blood supply to the heart muscle. In this way, circulatory disturbances, e.g. due to a narrowing of the coronary vessels in the context of coronary heart disease (CHD), can be assessed.