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Avera Medical Minute: Cardiac MRI helps heart patient

 Cardiac MRI
Cardiac MRI (KSFY)
Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 7:10 PM CST
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Craig Sharpe of Sioux Falls discovered what can happen when you tell your doctor at a checkup about something that just doesn't seem right.

"I wasn't very active so I just kind of thought that was the problem till I told him about the shortness of breath then he said, no we're gonna get it checked. So it was kind of a surprise," said Sharpe.

Dr. Mohammed Chowdhury says tests pointed to a problem with his heart function. "A normal pumping function of the heart is 50 to 60 percent which means every time a heart squeezes, it squeezes out 55 to 60 percent of the blood. In Mr. Craig's case it was 35 percent," said Dr. Chowdury.

Dr. Chowdhury put Craig on heart failure medication right away which has been helping, but that's not a permanent fix. More tests could help them understand why his heart is not functioning normally.

"So I put him on a monitor for two weeks and it showed he had some frequent extra beats. now to further evaluate what causing the extra beats we ordered a cardiogram MRI for him," said Dr. Chowdury.

When arriving for tests, Craig begins with an echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, indicating dimensions and blood flow.

"It's just amazing they've really been great people. The things and the test they run are awesome," said Sharpe.

The next test will provide minute details of his heart.

"Alright, the doctor today is having me do the cardiac MRI because he wants to see if there's damage and where that damage is. Right now everything they're doing as far as the medication is working. You know and stuff getting better but he wants to find out if I have somewhere my heart flutters a little bit," said Sharpe.

"A cardiogram MRI is basically a big scanner it uses magnets and radio waves to make a very detailed picture of the heart. It can look at your valves, it can look at the covering of the heart muscles. Sometimes that can thicken and cause heart failure. It can also look at the blood vessel that connects your heart to the rest of your body to see if there's any abnormalities or enlargement," said Dr. Chowdury.

Craig is glad he mentioned his symptoms. "Because I want to be around to bug my grandkids for a while and my wife. So yah there just is so much technology now that it's no big deal just get it done. Find out what's going on," said Sharpe.

And Dr. Chowdhury says knowledge is power. "Once we can classify what has actually caused it, we can actually work on the treatment," said Dr. Chowdury.

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