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Cardiac Imaging

A precise diagnosis is the first step on your path to potentially life-changing or lifesaving treatments. Thanks to modern imaging technology available right here in central Virginia, we can diagnose heart and vascular conditions quickly, safely and accurately.

Our approach to care

If your doctor is concerned that you may have a heart or vascular problem, they may recommend you have a heart imaging test.

Today’s cardiac imaging tests make it possible for us to find heart and vascular problems early, when they’re typically easier to treat. For example, imaging technology allows us to evaluate problems such as:

  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
  • Cardiac tumors
  • Carotid artery stenosis
  • Congenital heart problems, such as atrial septal defect
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Vascular disorders, including peripheral artery disease

The type and number of tests you’ll need depends on several factors, including the frequency and severity of your symptoms. Please note that these tests require an order from your doctor.

Cardiac imaging tests we offer

We regularly update our cardiac imaging equipment so you benefit from the most advanced technology on the market. Our services include:

  • Echocardiograms. Uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create pictures of the heart’s chambers, valves and blood flow. We offer both pediatric and adult echocardiograms.
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This radiation-free procedure captures 3D videos of the heart in exceptional detail.
  • Coronary CT angiograms. A noninvasive evaluation of the arteries that supply blood to your heart, to look for blockages (atherosclerosis).
  • Nuclear studies. Uses a small, safe amount of radioactive material to measure blood flow to the heart (while at rest and during exercise). You should not have caffeine for 24 hours prior to this procedure.
  • Stress echocardiograms (stress tests). A type of echocardiogram that takes pictures of the heart before and after exercise.
  • Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). This procedure combines ultrasound and endoscopy. A thin, hollow tube (endoscope) passed down your throat and esophagus takes pictures of your moving heart. You’ll receive a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation” to keep you comfortable.
  • Vascular studies. Uses ultrasound technology to look for clots or other blockages in your veins or arteries.

What Happens After Your Test

Your test results are key to determining which specialist you should see, and which treatments you’ll need. For most of the tests, you’ll receive your results within one week. A copy of your test results are also sent to your referring provider. Our team approach ensures that, when necessary, there are several doctors available to weigh in on your treatment plan. Together we tailor medical, surgical or interventional therapies to your unique risk factors, medical needs and personal preferences.

Related Services


We offer comprehensive cardiovascular evaluations to confirm or rule out heart problems. Depending on your diagnosis, we can continue to monitor your symptoms, prescribe medication or lifestyle changes, refer you to a specialist for more advanced treatments.


There are many types of arrhythmias, each requiring different levels of treatment. Our arrhythmia specialists (electrophysiologists) can confirm whether your symptoms are harmless or serious. We’ll also help you prevent complications such as stroke, heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest.

Vein Care

If you’re tired of living with varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency, it may be time to see a vein specialist at the Centra Heart & Vascular Institute Vein Center.

Valve & Structural Heart Disease Center

Conditions that affect your heart’s structure — such as aortic stenosis and mitral valve disease — are often referred to as structural heart disease.

Vascular Medicine & Surgery

If you have a vascular condition (disease or damage in your veins or arteries), our innovative treatments can help. We’ll work with you to reduce your symptoms, improve your quality of life and avoid amputation.

Congenital & Pediatric Heart Care

Our pediatric cardiologists treat heart problems that children were born with (congenital) or develop after birth (acquired). These include conditions such as aortic stenosis and Kawasaki disease.

Congestive Heart Failure Center

For many people with heart failure, early diagnosis and proper treatment can slow its progression — preventing fatigue, weakness and breathing problems. In fact, when heart failure is optimally treated, we can often change the course of the disease and improve heart function.

Heart Surgery

Our team offers the full range of surgery options to treat problems inside the chest cavity, including heart, lung and esophagus conditions. We perform traditional, open heart surgery and newer, less invasive approaches that may help you recover more quickly and with less pain.

Interventional Cardiology

Interventional procedures (or cardiac catheterization procedures) in many cases are just as effective as heart surgery — but with fewer risks. This means many people who are not good candidates for surgery still have lifesaving treatment options.

Where you can find us

We have a number of conveniently located facilities in your neighborhood. See all Locations

Why choose Centra for cardiac imaging?

Our cardiac imaging centers are staffed by experienced doctors and technicians, and offer the most up-to-date technology. Learn what else sets us apart from other cardiac imaging programs:

  • Our experience speaks volumes. Our cardiac imaging team performs nearly 3,200 procedures a month, making us one of the busiest programs of our size in the region. This breadth of experience and depth of expertise means we can identify even the most subtle or rare heart problems.
  • Independent organizations confirm our expertise. We’ve earned individual accreditations from the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission for many of our cardiac imaging services. These include our echocardiograms as well as vascular and nuclear studies. Accreditation is important because it confirms we offer the safest and highest-quality imaging care possible.
  • We offer advanced cardiac imaging closer to home. You don’t have to travel far to get some of the most innovative imaging tests available. We’re one of the few health systems in the region to offer procedures such as coronary CT angiograms and cardiac MRI.