3D MRA of the heart (Left) and a 3D CTA of the heart showing a rupture of the heart muscle (Right).
Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United States and is the culprit for one out of every four deaths. The estimated annual cost of heart disease to the US economy is $109 billion and there are over 6 million visits to the emergency room for chest pain every year. Despite all available sophisticated clinical and laboratory tools, the diagnosis of cardiac disease is still extremely challenging. However, with the development of newer non-invasive imaging modalities, we are able to screen and diagnose heart disease with more confidence and accuracy.
It is an exciting time at Tower Radiology Centers in Tampa, FL. Tower has taken the lead in Central Florida by providing the most advanced, multi-modality, non-invasive cardiac imaging tests to its patients and clinicians. Dr. Krishna Nallamshetty and Dr. Carlos A. Rojas have spearheaded Cardiac Imaging at Tower. Both of these board-certified radiologists have completed additional Advanced Cardiac Imaging fellowships at Harvard Medical School through joint programs in the Departments of Radiology and Cardiology. They have obtained the highest level of certification in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Cardiac MRI), Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA), and Nuclear Cardiology by the American Colleges of Radiology and Cardiology.
Tower Radiology Centers provide outpatient radiology services throughout Tampa and the surrounding areas. Cardiac imaging modalities offered at Tower include Cardiac MRI, Cardiac and Coronary CTA, Echocardiography, Nuclear Exercise and Pharmacologic Stress Perfusion Imaging, and Electrocardiograms.
Krishna Nallamshetty, M.D.
Carlos A. Rojas, M.D.
The recent addition of Cardiac MRI provides Tower with a robust imaging modality, a “problem solver” that is tailored on a case-by-case basis to help the clinicians and surgeons answer specific questions about the cardiovascular system. These can include: myocardial viability, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, cardiac-pericardial masses, constriction, myocarditis, and much more.
Cardiac MRI is a sophisticated exam that does not use ionizing radiation to evaluate the heart. Not only is it considered the “gold standard” for the evaluation of cardiac function and myocardial viability, but it can also evaluate the heart valves and display heart anatomy with great detail. This allows for better evaluation of complicated cardiac and congenital diseases. “Previously, echocardiography was the only non-invasive tool available for these patients, but now with Cardiac MRI, the anatomy and functionality of the heart is better assessed,” says Dr. Nallamshetty.
Coronary CT Angiography is a non-invasive imaging exam to assess for Coronary Artery Disease “blockage” before a heart attack occurs. “This exam is revolutionizing the way radiologists approach patients with chest pain in an outpatient setting and in emergency departments around the world, due to its improved performance compared to other non-invasive exams. Furthermore, with current state-of-the art equipment we can perform these exams with negligible radiation doses,” says Dr. Rojas.
As Dr. Nallamshetty explains, “In order to provide the most effective and cost efficient imaging for cardiac disease, it is critical that the radiologist is well versed in all imaging modalities. This insight allows for an unbiased approach to choosing the best technique for each patient.” Traditionally, a patient may undergo several duplicate and unnecessary tests to evaluate a specific cardiac pathology. Since the armamentarium of cardiac imaging techniques has grown and become more complex, the radiologists at Tower work closely with referring clinicians to decide the best way to evaluate patients. “This avoids unnecessary tests and gives the clinician a more definite answer,” says Dr. Rojas. Once the diagnosis is made, the patient can be referred to the appropriate specialists for treatment.
Dr. Nallamshetty and Dr. Rojas are passionate about cardiac imaging and serve as mentors to radiology residents, cardiology fellows, and medical students. They are Directors of the Cardiothoracic Imaging Fellowship Program at the University of South Florida and they are also well-published with over 60 journal articles and book chapters. Their expertise and enthusiasm have made Tower Radiology Centers the leader and premier referral center for non-invasive imaging of the heart in Central Florida.
Tower Radiology Center – South Tampa
2106 S. Lois Ave.
Tampa, FL 33629