St. Joseph's Children's Hospital Specializes in Pediatric Cardiac MRI

December 15, 2020
St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Specializes in Pediatric Cardiac MRI


St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital has enhanced its services for pediatric and adult congenital heart defect patients with the addition of a pediatric cardiologist with specialized training in congenital cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Ryan Boggs, M.D.   

A cardiac MRI is a noninvasive imaging procedure that uses magnetic technology, not radiation, to make detailed images of the heart and its blood vessels in a short time. While an echocardiogram is often used in evaluating heart conditions, it has limitations in its ability to adequately provide detailed information about a heart’s anatomy in patients who have undergone or may undergo cardiac surgery for congenital heart defects. 

“The high-resolution images of the moving heart and blood vessel anatomy produced in a cardiac MRI provide insight into the overall quality of the heart function,” said Dr. Boggs.

According to St. Joseph’s Hospital Imaging Services Manager Greg Carter, the hospital has performed cardiac MRIs for adult patients with an acquired heart condition for many years, and the addition of a pediatric cardiologist who is specializes in congenital heart diseases now brings the ability to interpret MRI results for children and adults born with many types of heart defects and other heart conditions. 

Dr. Boggs will work with imaging technologists at St. Joseph’s Hospital who are experienced in performing MRIs to evaluate congenital heart conditions such as Tetralogy of Fallot, Coarctation of the Aorta, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies and other complex congenital heart defects. 

“Every congenital heart defect patient is unique and being able to use cardiac MRI to evaluate their cardiac anatomy and function in real-time will allow for better long-term treatment planning,” adds Dr. Boggs. 

To get clear images, patients need to remain still in the MRI scanner during the test. To help kids with this, the hospital provides specially equipped Virtual Reality goggles that can be used to watch movies or play music during the procedure. 

“For very young patients or those having difficulty remaining still during the MRI, anesthesia is available under the guidance of dedicated cardiac anesthesia specialists,” said Carter.  

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s pediatric heart physicians perform hundreds of cardiac procedures each year to treat congenital and acquired heart conditions in children of any age, including newborns. A partnership between St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC provides families across Florida with unprecedented access to the highest level of pediatric heart care available. Together, they provide highly specialized cardiovascular care for patients ranging from babies in the womb to adults with congenital heart disease.


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