Physicians at her home medical center in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. were reluctant to perform a heart procedure on 55-year-old Pressley because conventional techniques could not determine the extent of possible heart muscle death from a recent silent heart attack. So Pressley was referred to Duke University Medical Center, where cardiologists used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to clearly distinguish dead from damaged, but still living, heart muscle.
"My doctors in Florida didn't want to perform an angioplasty until they could get a better view of my heart," Pressley said. "The MRI scan they performed at Duke showed that there was very little muscle death. That meant there was a good chance that angioplasty could restore function to my heart. It is a great relief to know that I can have the procedure."
Duke cardiologists estimate that about 30 percent of patients with heart disease -- like Pressley -- find that conventional methods for imaging the heart fall short in providing accurate information on which to guide treatment. The cardiologists believe that cardiac MRI can help this significant number of heart patients.
Pressley is among the first patients to have their hearts "scanned" at the new Duke Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Center (DCMRC), the only facility in Duke's service region -- and the first of its kind nationwide -- devoted exclusively to cardiovascular MRI. Unlike similar facilities where MRI machines may be used for many different clinical problems, the Duke scanner is devoted entirely to imaging the heart.
The DCMRC is directed by biomedical engineer Robert Judd, Ph.D., and cardiologist Raymond Kim, M.D. They say that MRI provides crisp 3-D views of cardiac anatomy with no interference from adjacent bone or air. Its image qu
Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center