New technology enables quicker, more precise diagnosis for heart patients

May 19, 2010
WILMINGTON – New Hanover Regional Medical Center is one of only 32 sites in the world with a new technology that offers cardiology patients and physicians better information about the heart. The 3D imaging ultrasound system allows physicians to instantaneously capture a moving image of the entire volume of the patient’s heart in less time and with more detail than was previously available. “This new ultrasound machine gives us more information about the anatomy of the heart and the strength of the heart muscle,” says Linda Calhoun, M.D., a cardiologist at NHRMC. “Because we can get more information as to the causes of heart disease, we can more easily and quickly find a diagnosis, which can save lives.” In addition to a quicker diagnosis, the new ultrasound system can save time and tests for patients by giving physicians a more complete picture of the heart. In a single heartbeat, the system can deliver a real representation of the patient’s beating heart. “With the old technology, it used to take multiple tests to really get a good idea of what was going on in a patient’s heart,” says Calhoun. “With this machine, we may be able to get enough information to avoid further testing, saving the patient time and money.” Previously, the ultrasound machines available could only take a series of 3D still photos of the heart and the process could take 45 minutes to one hour to complete. Now, in about 20 minutes, sonographers can capture 3D real-time video that shows how well the heart muscle is pumping blood, any valve abnormalities and whether surgery is needed to correct the problem. “There are so many benefits to the patient with this new system,” Calhoun says. “I am thrilled that we can offer this kind of care to our patients.” For more information on what services are offered at the NHRMC Heart Center, click here.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the leading provider of quality and accessible health care in Southeastern North Carolina, delivering care to all in need, without the support of taxpayer dollars. The medical center takes seriously its responsibility as an economic engine for the community, creating more than 4,500 jobs directly and another 3,000 jobs indirectly. ###