Diagnostic Radiology

Center for cardiac imaging

The Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, together with the Clinic for Cardiology and Pneumonology as well as the Clinic for Pediatric Cardiology, is part of the special unit “Imaging of the heart”. Experts from all three specialty areas collaborate closely to provide state-of-the-art methods of heart imaging. These methods include computer tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as positron emission tomography in combination with computer tomography (PET/CT). In addition, we offer expertise in diagnostics and treatment of vascular malformations.

Heart imaging - Latest Diagnostic Methods

At our special Heart Imaging unit we perform diagnostic examinations for inpatients and outpatients. The latest developments in computer tomography allow for the depiction of coronary arteries without using catherization and with very little exposure of the patient to radiation. The extent of vascular calcification can also be determined. Innovative methods using computer tomography make it possible to examine heart muscle itself. As with MRI, these methods allow us to detect pathological changes in heart muscle tissues or a disturbance in blood flow to heart muscle. Thus, we are able to estimate more accurately the risk of cardiac infarction. Computer tomographic images of the heart are also necessary to enable precise electrophysiological interventions, aortic valve substitution procedures and heart surgery. Magnetic resonance imaging, an imaging method without radiation, allows us to analyze blood flow to the heart as well as heart function. This method also makes it possible to assess inflammatory processes and other pathological changes in cardiac tissue and examine heart valve function. MRI can also be used to determine how severe a heart has been damaged by infarction, and how much heart tissue is still intact. Positron emission tomography and computer tomography together allow us to analyze the metabolism of the heart. For this we work closely with the Department of Nuclear Medicine of the University Medical Center Göttingen.

Research focus on the Heart Imaging Unit

At the Heart Imaging unit we develop new methods for depicting heart muscle and vessels. We utilize state-of-the-art technology to visualize more effectively, and at an early stage, inflammation of heart muscle as well as surrounding connective tissue and protein deposits. Furthermore, we aim to detect quantitative changes due to heart disease with a precision that was never before possible. For this, in 2014, a 3-Tesla research MRI co-funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the UMG was established. In the same year, Prof. Dr. Christian Ritter was awarded a professorship for cardiac imaging. In cooperation with the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Prof. Dr. Martin Uecker, one of the leading scientists in the area of real-time MRI imaging, was appointed to a professorship at the radiological clinic of the UMG. He works in close collaboration with the Biomedical MRI Research GmBH headed by Prof. Dr. Jens Frahm, which is associated with the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry. The aim of this interdisciplinary work group is to develop techniques for diagnostics and treatment of the heart without exposing patients to radiation. These methods allow for assessment of the heart and vessels in real-time while undergoing physical stress in the MRI. The team is working hard to lay the foundations for new methods to extract heart tissue samples while controlled by MRI, which is particularly important for nonspecified heart diseases. There is also ongoing research on new computer tomography methods similar to MRI that would make it possible to visualize coronary arteries and heart muscle very quickly in order to detect pathological changes. In cooperation with the German Primate Center (DPZ), we are also involved in research on molecular strategies for imaging of metabolism of the heart using PET/CT  and MRI as well as optical methods.

Special consultation office hours for vascular malformations

In May 2017, we established a unit specialized in vascular malformations. Vascular malformations are congenital abnormalities of the blood and lymph vessels that can occur in all regions of the body and affect skin, muscle and organs. The symptoms are similarly diverse, ranging from no physical complaints at all to cosmetic abnormalities and pressure sensitivity to serious symptoms such as heart failure or stroke, depending on the localization and the extent of the malformation. Embedded in an interdisciplinary context, patients with congenital or acquired vascular malformations are counseled, supervised and treated by the team headed by Prof. Dr. René Müller-Wille. The multidisciplinary approach to this specialty area makes it possible to identify and carry out the optimal treatment for individual patients at the UMG.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Lotz
Prof. Dr. med. Joachim Lotz
Head, Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
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