A dynamic diagnostic toolbox for cardiac care

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Ernest Garcia, PhD:
A dynamic diagnostic toolbox for cardiac care
December 4, 2008

Twenty years ago, Ernest Garcia, PhD, and his colleagues created software that helped physicians analyze cardiac images. Today the software is used throughout the world and has evolved into a vast set of software-imaging tools. Known as the Emory Cardiac Toolbox, the software provides physicians with an efficient, noninvasive method of accurately diagnosing heart disease.

Garcia, a professor of radiology at Emory University School of Medicine, says the most fundamental question the software addresses is whether a patient has coronary artery disease. However, the latest addition to the toolbox allows physicians to more accurately diagnose and treat heart failure.

"The latest tool helps with heart failure. In particular, predicting which patients are going to benefit from specific treatments," Garcia says. "One treatment that is becoming more widespread these days is cardiac resynchronization therapy. Just by using the software and analyzing how the heart beats, we can see how synchronized it is. And if it's not synchronized, we can now predict how well it would improve with resynchronization therapy, a method of restoring the correct mechanical sequence of heart contractions in patients with an irregular heartbeat."

In addition, images gleaned from the cardiac toolbox can be sent via the Internet to the referring physicians who can then review the results alongside their patient.

To hear Garcia's own words about Emory's Cardiac Toolbox, use the player at the top of this page or subscribe to the podcast.