LEWISTON, Maine — Cardiac MRI—a state of the art technique for taking pictures of the heart—is now available at Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute. This type of magnetic resonance imaging usually supplements other procedures—such as echocardiography and Cardiac CT, but with better accuracy and more detail. The procedure being performed at CMHVI is one of only three cardiac MRI programs in Maine.
Using Cardiac MRI, doctors can easily and accurately test inflammation of the heart muscle or abnormal thickness of the cardiac anatomy. It can also be used to measure the extent of damage or scarring within the heart muscle that may result from a heart attack.
“This is the future of cardiac imaging,” said Dr. Steve Hobson, one of CMHVI’s providers. “It is the gold standard, and gives us the ability to determine why a heart has changed. No other imaging type provides this type of depth and understanding.”
The addition of Cardiac MRI in Lewiston means that Mainers no longer have to travel long distances—or even out of state—to take advantage of this sophisticated diagnostic tool.
Here’s how it’s done: A patient is asked to lie flat in a strong “magnet,” or MRI machine. A significant patient benefit is that no radiation is used in the procedure: the magnet emits radio-frequency pulses. Most patients are given an intravenous “contrast agent” to enhance the image quality. Based on the interaction of the pulses, the molecules in the heart and the magnetic field, images of the heart are created and displayed on a computer. Special software is used to manipulate the images, providing in-depth information about the patient’s heart.
Hobson and his colleague Dr. Beatrix Ramos, who have both completed post-fellowship training in advanced imaging, will be working with radiology specialists to provide the service.
About Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute
Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute, located at Central Maine Medical Center, is one of the top 50 cardiovascular hospitals in the United States according to IBM/Watson Health. Last year, CMMC was the only hospital in Maine and one of only two in New England to participate in a national study of TAVR—life-saving valve replacement surgery.
About Central Maine Healthcare
Central Maine Healthcare (CMH) is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving 400,000 people living in central, western, and mid-coast Maine. CMH’s hospital facilities include Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Bridgton Hospital, and Rumford Hospital. CMH also supports Central Maine Medical Group, a primary and specialty care practice organization. Other system services include the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute, a regional trauma program, LifeFlight of Maine’s southern Maine base, the Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center, and other high quality clinical services.