CV Imaging Research Center: MRI

Overview

Opened in 2002, the Duke Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Center (DCMRC) was the first such facility in the nation devoted exclusively to cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The DCMRC is dedicated to determining the clinical situations in which cardiovascular MRI provides diagnostic information beyond that available with existing diagnostic techniques. 

The use of MRI for the routine diagnosis of heart disease remains relatively uncommon, though MRI has been used in other clinical areas since the 1970s. This is partly because while most body organs do not move and therefore can be imaged "slowly," images of the heart must be acquired at a rate that is "fast" relative to the cardiac cycle.

Recent advances in MRI technology have reduced scan times to a few seconds. Combined with synchronization of the scanner hardware to the patient's ECG, these advances allow high-quality MRIs of the heart to be acquired.

Facilities include two state-of-the-art systems fully equipped for cardiovascular imaging:

  • A 1,5T Siemens Avanto system at Duke University Hospital serves inpatients
  • A 3T Siemens Verio system at Duke Clinic serves outpatients

Current research is aimed toward understanding:

  • The physiologic information portrayed by magnetic resonance images of the heart
  • The clinical utility of this information

Technical development includes development of new MRI pulse sequences and imaging protocols. Capabilities include:

  • Dedicated workstations for modifying MRI scanner software at its lowest level
  • Individuals from academia and industry whose primary responsibility is sequence and protocol development

Candidate pulse sequences and protocols are evaluated, and those whose clinical or research potential can be demonstrated are added to the library of active scan protocols.

When to Refer a Patient

Sample indications/anatomical regions appropriate for MRI evaluation include:

  • Aortic dissection and other aorta abnormalities
  • Cardiac thrombus
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital defects
  • Heart failure
  • Ischemic evaluation
  • Pericardial thickening, cysts, and mass
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Shunt
  • Valvular conditions
  • Vascular disease
  • Viability assessment

Contraindications

As an initial screening tool for referring physicians, MRI is contraindicated for patients with the following:

  • Aneurysm clips
  • Carotid artery vascular clamp
  • Neurostimulator
  • Insulin or infusion pump
  • Implanted drug infusion device
  • Bone growth/fusion stimulator
  • Cochlear, otologic, or ear implant

Scheduling

For more information or to refer a patient, please call 919-668-5580.
To assist us with scheduling a patient, please fill out and fax the referral sheet:

Or, have the following information ready when you call:

  • Name and phone number of the patient
  • Indication(s) for the exam
  • Name and phone number of the referring physician

Faculty

Robert M. Judd, PhD
Co-Director

Raymond J. Kim, MD
Co-Director

For a full list of our current faculty members, please visit our faculty page.

Contact Information

Duke Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Center
Office: Duke Clinic, Room 4229, Orange Zone, Trent Drive, Durham, NC, 27710
Campus mail: DUMC Box 3934, Durham, NC, 27710
Phone: 919-668-3539 or 919-668-5580
Fax: 919-668-5588
E-maildcmrc-admin@duke.edu