Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre

Leading Cardiovascular MRI Care and Innovation

A leading clinical, research and teaching facility

The Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre was founded at the Foothills Medical Centre in 2005 by a group of visionary philanthropists, Alberta Health Services, and the Divisions of Cardiology and Diagnostic Imaging. Our centre is a global leader in cardiovascular clinical care, research and teaching. 


MRI is a unique imaging test that combines magnetic fields and radio frequencies to generate images of the body without radiation. Over the past 15 years it has been increasingly used to obtain two-, three- and now four-dimensional images of the heart and large blood vessels. It is now considered a "gold standard" test for many aspects of cardiovascular disease, particularly for the assessment of cardiac size, function and diseases of the heart muscle.


Researchers at the Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre are leading numerous studies and collaborating with a plethora of researchers to tackle cardiovascular issues. They are leaders in the area of precision medicine.


The centre is a multi-disciplinary teaching facility that supports level two training in cardiovascular MRI that includes stress perfusion imaging and congenital heart disease. Each year the centre provides one competitive and one externally funded training position. It also provides level two training to trainees of the Cummings School of Medicine within the cardiology and radiology training programs.

Technician working with patient at MRI machine

A technician is starting the MRI machine for a patient.

Photo of an MRI machine

About Us

The Stephenson Centre began operations under the direction of Dr. Matthias Friedrich, a Cardiologist and Cardiac Imager recruited from Germany. This program was the first of its kind in Canada and established Cardiac MRI as an important pillar of cardiac care in Southern Alberta.

Cardiologist and clinician-scientist, Dr. James White, took over leadership in 2013, bringing a new academic focus and expertise in data collection and analytics.

The Stephenson Centre now has two cardiac MRI scanners located at the Foothills Medical Centre and South Health Campus. The team performs about 3,500 studies per year, conducts numerous clinical research studies, and collaborates with basic science and clinical researchers from within Alberta and around the world.  The Centre attracts from around the globe.

Imaging Protocols

The imaging protocols, used either alone or in combination at the Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre are as follows:


Acute Cardiomyopathy (acute coronary syndrome, myocarditis, new-onset heart failure)
Chronic Cardiomyopathy (prior myocardial infarction, dilated cardiomyopathy)
Restrictive Cardiomyopathy (amyloidosis)
Constrictive / Pericardial disease
Stress perfusion imaging (evaluate for ischemia)
ARVC - Screening
Arrhythmia - Ventricular
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Pre-ICD / Pre-Cardiac Resynchronization
Cardiac Mass
Pulmonary Vein Angiography
Coronary MRA
Iron overload assessment (Thallasemia, Hemachromatosis)
Aorta MRA / Chronic Aortic dissection
Left Ventricular function - Oncology Pathway
Valvular Disease
Pulmonary hypertension


Shunt - ASD / VSD / AVSD
Shunt - PDA
Valvular - Aortic / Mitral
Valvular - Ebstein
Aorta - Coarctation
Aorta - Vascular Ring
Aorta - Marfan / Ehlers Danlos
RVOT - Pulm Stenosis
RVOT - Tetralogy of Fallot
RVOT - Pulmonary atresia
Complex - TGA Arterial Switch
Complex - TGA Mustard
Complex - L-TGA
Complex - Truncus arteriosus
Complex - Hypoplastic L Heart
Complex - Single V - Pre Bi-directional Glenn
Complex - Single V - Fontan
Complex - Other
Coronaries - Kawasaki
Coronaries – Anomalous