Cardiovascular Imaging

Cardiac MRI

Cardiac MRI is an exciting and new way of using MRI to image the heart. Magnetic resonance imaging is a non-invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. It does this without using any radiation.

Cardiac MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the heart.

Cardiac MRI is performed to help:

  • Evaluate the anatomy and function of the heart, valves, major vessels and surrounding structures.
  • Diagnose and manage a variety of cardiovascular problems.
  • Detect and evaluate the effects of coronary artery disease.
  • Plan a patient's treatment for cardiovascular problems and monitor a patient's progress.
  • Bellin Hospital has the first and only Cardiac MRI program in the region.

Cardiac MRI is performed at Bellin Health MRI. 740 S. Van Buren St. in Green Bay, just behind Bellin Hospital.

Cardiac CT

In the past several years, a technology revolution has allowed 3 dimensional imaging of the live, beating heart using CT (“CAT scan” or Computerized Tomography). This is a non-invasive method of imaging the heart and vascular system in 3 dimensions using x-rays. The power of modern CT scanners makes it possible to acquire detailed information on coronary artery anatomy, heart structure and function and anatomy of the great vessels. The speed of the scanner allows imaging within a few seconds. The study requires special computer processing and analysis. Cardiology Associates’ interpreting physicians are specially credentialed in cardiac CT. We interpret all cardiac CT studies performed at Bellin Health Hospital Center. As with all x-ray studies, patients are exposed to some radiation.  As scanners have improved, the dose to patients has reduced, however radiation exposure needs to be considered as part of the very small risk of the study.


Echocardiography is a non-invasive imaging test of the heart in which pictures are acquired using ultrasound waves. There is no radiation risk for this kind of test. The information gives detailed analysis of structure and function of the heart.

There are two types of echocardiograms:

  • Transthoracic Echocardiography (TTE) or surface echocardiography is the most common type of cardiac ultrasound test and it is performed in an office setting.  Ultrasound gel is applied to the chest. The heart is then imaged from a variety of positions. The entire test takes approximately 30-45 minutes. There is no preparation for this test.
  • Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) is ordered in a few patients where it is necessary to get more detailed information. By passing the probe into the esophagus, the TEE provides a much clearer image of the heart and allows us to see parts of the heart not ordinarily visualized on surface echocardiography. This is because the sound waves during a TEE travel a much shorter distance, and do not have to pass through the skin, chest, muscle or bone. This is an outpatient test that requires special training obtained by several members of our practice and is performed in the hospital. A small probe is inserted into the esophagus (feeding tube) through your mouth while you are awake but sedated.

What to expect (for your TEE)
During the test you will be given an intravenous sedative to make you comfortable. In most patients, transesophageal echocardiograms are performed with very low risk and the details of the test will be reviewed with you by our cardiologist and the staff. All patients are closely monitored by medical professionals throughout the test. As with any test involving sedation, patients are also monitored for a period of time after the test to make sure they have fully recovered.


  • Do not eat or drink anything except small sips of water for at least eight hours before the test.
  • Notify the doctor performing the procedure if you are allergic or sensitive to any medications.
  • The nurse will place an IV in your arm and electrodes on your chest. You will be brought into a special room where the test is performed and, you will be given oxygen and placed on your left side. An intravenous sedative will be given to relax you.
  • Once you’re relaxed, the probe will be passed and cardiac imaging will proceed.
  • Once the test is completed, you will be brought to the recovery room to be monitored. Shortly thereafter you may go home.
  • The entire test takes approximately 60 minutes, with an additional one hour to recover.
  • Because you are sedated during the procedure you must arrange for someone to drive you home after the test.

Nuclear Imaging

Stress testing is used to assess blood flow to the heart to evaluate for any possible blockages in the arteries feeding the heart. This is done to evaluate symptoms or to work up certain heart conditions. In situations where patients are unable to walk on a treadmill, medication is given through an IV to stress the heart. A nuclear stress test is used to gather information about how well your heart works during physical activity and at rest. This testing involves a special substance given through an IV that becomes visible on images taken by a special camera. It examines blood flow to the heart muscle and identifies any areas of damage.