Cardiac Imaging and Diagnostics

The new frontier in advanced imaging

Advanced cardiovascular imaging services are the backbone of cardiology. University of Minnesota Physicians Heart offers a complete range of state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging services at Fairview Southdale Hospital and University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Today’s imaging technology offer stunning visual details, including virtual 3-D, helping trained specialists detect the most subtle abnormalities that may have gone undetected only years before. Our experts who read and interpret these detailed images are some of the most highly skilled in Minnesota. All of our imaging centers have been nationally accredited after passing rigorous national standards for quality, trained staff and measured outcomes.

We are one of only a handful of heart programs in the country that can offer you all of the latest cardiovascular imaging methods.

  • We are one of the first to offer side-by-side advanced cardiovascular CT and MRI, with ammonia PET scan also available in the same location.
  • Our “wide-bore” cardiovascular MRI is one of the first in the nation and offers vivid images of the heart, as well as greater comfort for claustrophobic and larger patients.
  • Our cardiac “flash” CT provides results in seconds and the lowest radiation exposure available while capturing the highest quality images for improved diagnosis.

Access to this wide variety of state-of-the-art imaging technology allows our physicians to offer the right test to the right patient at the right time and at the lowest possible radiation dose.

Imaging services at nationally accredited facilities

Imaging and diagnostic services offered at our centers include:

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe, noninvasive test that creates detailed pictures of the heart for improved diagnosis. Noninvasive means that no surgery is done and no instruments are inserted into the body. Cardiac MRI provides the ability to diagnose numerous causes of cardiomyopathy that were previously undiagnosable with noninvasive imaging.

Our team is able to obtain comprehensive imaging details without the need to expose patients to radiation or iodinated contrast materials. Patients also have more body room during testing, providing more comfort for patients who are claustrophobic and who are larger size.

Cardiac MRI is appropriate for:

  • Cardiac and blood vessel anatomy
  • Heart function testing
  • Heart blood flow imaging
  • Heart viability and scar imaging

Cardiac and vascular computerized tomography (CT)

Computed tomography (CT) offers a fast, noninvasive alternative to angiography, which requires inserting a catheter and dye into the body. The result is more information than a traditional angiogram, a lower risk of complications and, in many cases, a lower dose of X-ray exposure.

CT can show not only a blood vessel but also the walls of the vessel, including plaque that’s building up in those walls before it causes severe blockage. This imaging technology gives us a clear view of the heart’s four chambers and valves, the sac around the heart and adjacent lung tissue. These do not show up on a traditional angiogram, but may be responsible for a patient’s symptoms.

Cardiac and vascular CT is appropriate for:

  • Non-invasive coronary angiography
  • Heart structure and function
  • Coronary calcium assessment

Nuclear Cardiology

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scans use small amounts of radiation to create images. Sometimes called a “nuclear stress test” or “stress thallium” study, nuclear cardiac imaging is used in conjunction with stress testing to improve the detection of coronary artery blockage.

After an injection of a short-acting radioactive substance before and during treadmill exercise, patients lie under a “gamma camera” while a computer collects information and creates a detailed image of the heart muscle. This image allows the cardiologist to detect artery blockage or heart muscle damage.

Nuclear cardiology is appropriate for:

  • Nuclear stress testing and perfusion imaging
  • Heart viability testing
  • Heart function testing

Ammonia PET

The newest tool available at University of Minnesota Physicians Heart is an ammonia PET scanner. Like nuclear imaging, PET measures the amount of blood flowing to the heart, but it does so with far less radiation and produces a much higher quality image.

Ammonia PET is appropriate for:

  • Detecting inflammation in the heart
  • Checking blood flow to a transplanted heart
  • Evaluation of the results of cardiac regenerative therapies such as stem cell treatments and gene therapy

Echocardiography (ECHO)

ECHO is appropriate for:

  • Evaluation of heart anatomy and function
  • Heart valve assessment
  • Specialized heart muscle function assessment
  • Stress echocardiography
  • 3-D trans-esophageal echocardiogram (TEE)

Heart stress testing

  • Echocardiogram stress
  • MRI stress
  • Nuclear stress


Cardiac imaging specialists

How to contact us

To schedule an appointment:

By phone:

  • Select "Option 1" for appointments at University of Minnesota Medical Center 
  • Select "Option 2" for appointments at Fairview Southdale Hospital, Fairview Ridges Hospital, and all other Fairview medical centers and clinics 

Use our secure online form to submit an appointment request 24/7. We will receive it and follow-up with you as soon as possible.

Submit an online request


Physicians Referrals and Consultations

We provide support when you need:

  1. Assistance in selecting the right imaging test for patients
  2. Specific instructions for a particular imaging test
  3. Answers to questions or concerns regarding cardiac imaging test/results
  4. Feedback in imaging test

For general consults with a cardiac imaging specialist: 612-365-6000

For consults with a cardiac imaging specialist at Fairview Southdale Hospital: 952-924-8383
(Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

For consults with a cardiac imaging specialist at University of Minnesota Medical Center: 612-672-6000

Our imaging team is committed to providing fast turnaround times to referring physicians, in most cases 24-hours. When the timing of results are critical, we will call to discuss the patient's condition.

Advanced cardiovascular imaging centers locations:

General cardiovascular imaging locations: