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Cardiovascular Imaging

Non-invasive imaging of the cardiovascular system is provided by several modalities, including echocardiography, computer tomography (CT) scanning, and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging. The Rady Children’s Hospital Echocardiography Laboratory currently performs approximately 8,000 studies each year. They included transthoracic, transesophageal, and fetal echocardiograms. The laboratory is staffed with full time pediatric-trained sonographers who perform the tests. Our pediatric nurse practitioners provide medical monitoring during sedated echocardiograms which allows for complete evaluation on younger patients who may have trouble lying still while their study is performed. If your child is scheduled to have a sedated echocardiogram, it is very important to follow these instructions:

  • For newborns and infant up to 6 months of age:
    You may give solid foods up to 6 hours before the study, breast milk or formula up to 4 hours before the study, and clear liquids (Pedialyte) up to 2 hours before the study.
  • For patients older than 6 months:
    You may give solids, milk, and formula up to 6 hours before the study and clear liquids (water, Pedialyte) up to 2 hours before the study.

Beth Printz, MD, PhD is the Director of Cardiac Imaging and performs cardiac MRI (CMR) studies at Rady Children’s Hospital and UCSD Hillcrest. Raymond Fripp, M.D. is the Director of the Echocardiography Laboratory.

In addition to studies performed at Rady Children’s Hospital, our sonographers record studies in the NICUs at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital and UCSD Medical Center for interpretation by our cardiologists. Studies from other hospitals in our referral region are also sent to our cardiologists for interpretation.

Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego has a state-of-the-art 64-sclice CT scanner that provides rapid and detailed imaging of our patients’ hearts and blood vessels. It was the first such CT scanner installed in a children’s hospital in the U.S.

Our CMR studies are performed at Rady Children’s Hospital/Sharp MRI Center and at UCSD Hillcrest.