Dr. Patrick Veit-Haibach  and Dr. Michael Domanski
Dr. Patrick Veit-Haibach, (L), and Dr. Michael Domanski are part of the team-based approach at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre that works to maximize innovation using the PET-MRI machine. (Photo: The Globe and Mail)

Anyone who has ever slid through the tunnel of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine likely remembers its raucous whirring and knocking, not to mention the squeeze of a snug 70-centimetre-wide bore.

But for some patients undergoing procedures at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC), the time spent in the life-saving imaging machine will result in something even more – Positron Emission Tomography (PET) images. 

Back in April 2016, the centre acquired and installed one of only about 160 PET-MRI combination machines in the world, giving cardiology researchers access to the cutting-edge, hybrid technology. While MR uses strong magnetic fields to generate hyper-detailed images of the body's organs, a PET scan offers information about metabolic changes happening in organs or tissues. The images are generated simultaneously.

It's the best of both worlds, explains Dr. Patrick Veit-Haibach, Clinical Director of the PET-MRI, Joint Department of Medical Imaging (JDMI), and a German radiologist and nuclear medicine physician who came to Canada from Switzerland in April 2017.

"A PET-MRI should give you complementary information about the disease," he says. "At least for certain research questions, it's very important to have real-time simultaneous imaging, so you don't have a delay between one image and another."

Now, the machine is being used to conduct new research, determining everything from how heart and brain health are connected to pinpointing dangerous aortic aneurysms.

PMCC Magazine 

The third annual Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) magazine published by The Globe and Mail focuses on why Canada's premier cardiac centre is known for being "the heartbeat of innovation." The magazine explores the PMCC model that supports the creation, development and evolution of innovative ideas into action – making "today's idea, tomorrow's practice." It also examines the impact that a culture of innovation has on the way cardiovascular care is delivered now and into the future.

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