Pediatric Heart Imaging

From routine echocardiograms to innovative MRIs, our pediatric cardiac imaging center uses new and noninvasive techniques that offer more accurate diagnoses.

From routine echocardiograms to innovative MRI techniques, the cardiac imaging center at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Heart Institute uses cardiac imaging to heal hearts and save lives.

Our pediatric cardiac imaging program uses new, noninvasive techniques that offer more accurate diagnoses. Having a clear picture of what’s going on inside your child’s heart helps us diagnose and treat your child.

Call us for more information or to schedule an appointment


What Is Pediatric Cardiac Imaging?

Pediatric cardiac imaging helps us diagnose heart conditions in children. Imaging also guides cardiac surgeons and cardiologists during treatment. Finally, imaging is vital for your child’s recovery and follow-up because it helps us see how the heart and blood vessels have responded to treatment.

We use a variety of techniques and high-tech imaging equipment to see inside the heart’s structures. Many cardiac imaging tests are noninvasive, meaning there are no needles involved. For the imaging tests that do involve a needle or sedation, we will make sure your infant or child is comfortable and does not feel pain.

Why Choose the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Heart Cardiac Imaging Center?

We combine compassionate care with advanced technology to help diagnose and treat children of all ages. We are known for:

  • Leading the way in stress perfusion cardiac MRI: We are one of the first pediatric hospitals, and still one of the few, to offer stress perfusion cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in children. This noninvasive test uses a drug to mimic the stress of exercise on a child’s heart while having a cardiac MRI. An MRI uses a magnet, radio waves and a computer to take pictures of the heart. This test:
    • Helps children avoid cardiac catheterization or any other invasive diagnostic tests
    • Allows us to see how blood flows to/from the heart muscle while at rest and during stressful conditions
    • Has helped us to assess/evaluate patients and diagnose cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy 
  • Using advanced echocardiography: We use 3-D echocardiography to assess ventricular function (how well the heart pumps blood) during treatment and diagnosis. An echocardiogram (echo) is a noninvasive test that uses ultrasound waves to create images of the heart. A 3-D echo is superior to standard 2-D because it allows us to see the entire heart, so we can better prepare for a child’s heart surgery or cardiac ablation.
  • Working as a team to care for children: Our team of cardiac imaging specialists works with every subspecialty within cardiology. Imaging provides the window to see what’s going on inside a child’s heart. Together, we help diagnose, treat and heal children – keeping families in the center at all times. Meet our team.

Noninvasive Pediatric Cardiac Imaging

Noninvasive means the imaging device stays outside the body. The most common noninvasive cardiac imaging tests include:

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Cardiac MRI takes images of a patient's body using a magnet, radio waves and a computer. The MRI machine does not touch the child's body and does not use X-rays or radiation. To avoid exposing patients to radiation whenever possible, we use a cardiac MRI:

  • When the echocardiogram is unclear or cannot give us enough diagnostic information
  • To make a diagnosis and determine correct treatment
  • For adult patients with congenital heart disease
  • As part of surgical follow-up
Computed tomography (CT) scans
A CT scan helps us evaluate structures outside the heart, including the veins, coronary arteries, aorta and aortic arch (the part of the aorta that bends). The CT scanner at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Heart Institute uses very minimal radiation.
Echocardiography (echo)
This diagnostic procedure uses ultrasound waves to create images of the heart. An echo can help us identify congenital heart problems and monitor children after a heart transplant. For children under age 3, we offer a sedated echo, because it may be difficult for the child to stay still. Sedated means that we give your child medicine to fall asleep.
Stress perfusion MRI
We use a drug to mimic the stress of exercise on a child’s heart while taking an MRI. This new alternative to other, more invasive tests helps us see how blood flows to the heart during exercise.

Minimally Invasive Pediatric Cardiac Imaging

Minimally invasive means we introduce an imaging device inside the body. These tests include:

Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE)

ICE is an emerging imaging technique that helps us get a clearer image of the inside of the heart. We use it during cardiac catheterization, often along with treatment for a congenital heart defect.

Intravascular ultrasound

We use intravascular (inside the blood vessels) ultrasound during cardiac catheterization, a procedure that uses a needle stick in the leg to thread a tiny tube to the heart. The high-frequency sound waves of the ultrasound let us see inside the arteries.

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
With TEE, we insert an ultrasound probe into the mouth and thread it into the esophagus so we can see the heart from behind, without the lungs in the way. A TEE gives us more detailed information about a child’s heart than a traditional echo. TEE is used before and after most heart surgeries.

Call us for more information or to schedule an appointment

Meet Jared Klein, MD - Pediatric Imaging Cardiology

Meet Jared Klein, MD - Pediatric Imaging Cardiology

I care for pediatric patients with a variety of heart conditions including those with Marfan syndrome, Tetralogy of Fallot and hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

My father is an adult cardiologist and, as a child, I remember watching him review echocardiograms on VHS tapes in his office. He got me interested in the field and inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. As I progressed through medical school, I found pediatric encounters and pathology to be my favorite. Ultimately, I found pediatric cardiology to be the most interesting specialty due to its complexity, wide breadth of imaging and procedures that are involved.

I use imaging, especially echocardiography and cardiac MRI, to arrive at a patient’s diagnosis and “set the stage” for further medical or surgical treatment. Advanced cardiac imaging, especially via MRI, gives us a better field of view so we can best visualize the complex connections in congenital heart disease.

When caring for patients and working with their families, I always try to describe the diagnosis and plan of action with clarity and conciseness. While I know any heart condition can be terrifying for a child and their loved ones, our team is here to provide information, expertise, guidance and support to help families navigate the experience.
Meet Javier Gonzalez, MD - Pediatric Imaging Cardiology

Meet Javier Gonzalez, MD - Pediatric Imaging Cardiology

Medical Director, Inpatient Pediatric Cardiac Services & Pediatric Echocardiography Services

I am a pediatric cardiologist at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. I diagnose and treat children and adults with congenital heart disease and children with acquired heart disease, creating personalized treatment plans that may involve surgeries and interventions.

I was the first pediatric congenital cardiologist to be certified to perform and interpret Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (CT) in the United States in 2009 and remain one of the very few with the certification and experience in virtual dissections by CT and 3D echocardiography in the country.

I knew that I wanted to become a doctor at a very young age, because I was fascinated with the human body. I find the heart to be an amazing and intricate organ and I like children, so pediatric cardiology was a great fit for me. I continued with cardiac imaging at a time when we were starting to discover the benefits of 3D echocardiography in cardiac interventions and were just starting to create 3D renderings of intracardiac anatomy by a computer.

In cardiac imaging, I was trained by the most recognized mentors in those fields: with Drs. Hlavaceck and Schoepf for CT and by Dr. Shirali in 3D echocardiography. For two years, I was also awarded a National Institute of Health grant to perform research in these fields before joining the Congenital Heart Institute of Florida, where I became the Director of Cardiovascular Imaging.

At Memorial, I love to provide the most precise diagnosis for my patients and find the least invasive procedure or solution to help them feel and function better. When needed, I also guide surgeons and interventionists as they perform cardiac procedures with the help of the most advanced cardiac imaging technique available. The most rewarding aspect is to then see your patient thriving and doing well and knowing you were part of that miracle.

I treat each patient of mine as if they were my child. As a father of four who has had my own children hospitalized in the Pediatric ICU for different reasons, I understand how worrisome it is to be the parent of a sick child. I have been in your position and promise to give you the time and attention your child needs. My loyalty is always towards my patient, and I promise to be the cardiac advocate for your child.

Before joining Memorial, I was Director of Hospitalization and Non-Invasive Cardiology at St. Joseph Children’s Hospital in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Meet Lazaro Hernandez, MD - Pediatric Imaging Cardiologist

Meet Lazaro Hernandez, MD - Pediatric Imaging Cardiologist

Medical Director, Pediatric Cardiac Imaging, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital

I am a board-certified pediatric cardiologist with training in advanced cardiac imaging/cardiac MRI, and the medical director of Pediatric Cardiac imaging at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

I perform cardiac MRIs and echocardiograms on pediatric patients with a variety of congenital and acquired heart diseases. I have also introduced newly developed cardiac MRI sequences only performed in a few pediatric hospitals across the country, including the stress-perfusion cardiac MRI, at Joe DiMaggio.

As an imaging cardiologist, I get to help identify anatomic problems in a child's heart. This information and the images I capture help us to guide the medical management and also provide a better understanding for surgeons planning a procedure.

At Memorial, we work as a team to support and care for children and their families. Our goal is always to try to resolve the health concerns of a child, in turn improving their quality of life and that of their family.
Meet Tarah Popp, MD - Pediatric Imaging Cardiology

Meet Tarah Popp, MD - Pediatric Imaging Cardiology

I am a pediatric imaging specialist at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. I perform and interpret echocardiograms for individuals with congenital heart defects ranging from simple heart lesions (such as an atrial septal defect, or a hole between the top two chambers of the heart) to very complex lesions, as well as acquired cardiovascular conditions (such as heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and infections involving the heart).

I knew I wanted to be a doctor since I was a young child. Then, while attending medical school in Germany, I had the opportunity to work closely with a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon. I became captivated by the complexity of the heart and decided to pursue extra elective rotations in pediatric cardiology, which led me to pursue residency training in pediatrics and ultimately fellowship training in pediatric cardiology.

My love for echocardiography became apparent very early in my fellowship training. It's amazing what modern technology has enabled us to do – to see the beating heart and make diagnoses non-invasively. Echocardiography is not painful or harmful and yet extremely useful.

Fetal echocardiography is my passion and I particularly enjoy working with pregnant mothers and helping them attain the information and resources necessary to ensure their babies get the best care possible.

As a mother, I care for each patient as I would want my own child to be cared for. Often, I get to know patients and their families very well as I follow them throughout their lives. It's an honor and a privilege to get to accompany our heart heroes along the way.

I also love the intellectual challenge of my work and the opportunity to work closely with a team of qualified professionals to provide the best care possible to every patient.

It matters to you. It matters to us.

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Quality and Safety

See our hospital's patient satisfaction numbers, number of patients and more.

View Quality and Safety
You have a Right to Know About Prices

We want to give you the information you need to make important healthcare decisions, including the costs of our services.

View Pricing
MyChart Portal

View test results, schedule follow-up appointments, request prescription refills and more.

Login or Sign-up to MyChart