Rita Fischer’s doctor heard a heart murmur and sent the 78-year-old Cleveland woman to have an echocardiogram, which provided pictures of her heart in motion, and cardiac computerized tomography, a series of X-rays that combine to produce a three-dimensional picture.
Those images showed a spot on Fischer’s heart.
So the doctor sent her to Ali Salah MD at Upstate University Hospital for a cardiac MRI, a specialized magnetic resonance imaging service available in Syracuse only at Upstate.
“You know how you dread it? Well, I’ve got to say, it was a breeze,” Fischer recalled. “Dr. Salah is the sweetest man.”
The cardiac MRI showed that Fischer had a large cyst pressing on her heart, which was drained. Fischer recovered well.
A cardiac MRI is just like a regular MRI from a patient’s point of view. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that does not involve radiation and delivers unparalleled image quality. It is used to assess the causes of heart failure and other diseases that affect the heart. It can also be used to diagnose cardiac masses, examine abnormalities of the heart or pulmonary veins and evaluate a heart’s function.
The service is not widely available, mostly due to a lack of experts in the field of cardiovascular imaging, said Salah, director of the Cardiac Imaging program at Upstate. After completing a cardiology fellowship, Dr. Salah did an advanced cardiovascular imaging fellowship at SUNY-Stony brook in New York and Georgetown University in Washington DC. To reach him for consultations, call 315-464-4536.