Emory Report
December 8, 2008
Volume 61, Number 14

Learn more
Radiologist Ernest Garcia discusses the Emory Cardiac Toolbox on the latest edition of “Sound Science,” a podcast series from the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. Listen at whsc.emory.edu/

Also see the November 2008 edition of Rad Report.



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December 8
, 2008
Cardiac Toolbox helps its creator

By Monica Salama

Radiology professor Ernest Garcia, whose team developed the Emory Cardiac Toolbox, was recently recognized by The Better World Report for his leadership role in academic research that has changed the world. And the cardiac diagnosis software recently changed his life.

With a family history of cancer, Garcia never expected to be concerned with heart disease. This August, the Emory Cardiac Toolbox diagnosed its own developer with heart disease. Garcia’s diagnosis led to open heart surgery and with the expertise available at Emory, he recovered quickly.

As an expert in the field of cardiac diagnosis, Garcia has realized how easy it is to attribute the signs of a failing heart to other illnesses that the body may suffer. From this experience he says he has found a new appreciation for the importance of being well-informed and having a positive attitude.

The Emory Cardiac Toolbox relies on a bank of normal and abnormal scans to cross-reference and identify inconsistencies with a patient’s scan. Though Garcia and his team developed the program, he attributes his life-saving diagnosis to the patients and volunteers that supplied the images for the “normal” database.

Developments from Garcia’s lab at Emory continue to be commercialized through Syntermed Inc., established in 1999 as a spin-off of research and technology from Emory and Georgia Tech. The Emory Cardiac Toolbox used by more than 20,000 clinicians worldwide continues to grow, with the most recent addition implemented by Assistant Professor of Radiology Ji Chen. The SyncTool uses multiharmonic phase analysis to quickly and accurately determine which heart failure patients will benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy.