All posts by David Reidy


CHOC Children’s Specialists pediatric radiologists provide the only specialized pediatric imaging services in the region. CHOC Children’s uses cutting-edge technologies to obtain the highest quality image, while at the same time reducing the patient’s exposure to radiation. This is especially important for children whose conditions require repeated studies over the years.

Our expert physicians and staff are dedicated to using the lowest dose of radiation necessary, without sacrificing the quality of images required for quick and accurate diagnoses. Many children are imaged in adult facilities where radiation doses can be up to 50 percent higher than at CHOC.

We are accredited by the American College of Radiology and follow the guidelines of the Image Gently® campaign, so you can rest assured that your child will receive the safest radiology services available.

The CHOC Children’s Radiology Department is one of only a handful of hospital radiology departments in the country to offer a child life specialist. Child life specialists have been shown to decrease the amount of sedation necessary for children undergoing imaging tests. From the imaging suites to our family lobby, the Imaging Department has been designed to be a calm and inviting unit for children of all ages—from infants to teens and young adults. The unit features a number of private areas that allow child life specialists, caregivers and doctors the opportunity to interact with patients as need before or after an exam. CHOC Children’s offers patients special goggles to use during MRI scans. These video goggles allow the patient to watch their favorite movie or television show while undergoing their MRI scan and have been proven to reduce the number of patients needing sedation for MRI procedures.

Services and State-of-the-art Equipment

  • 3T and 1.5T MRI
  • CT, X-ray, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, MRI
  • 3D modeling for cardiac, orthopaedic and brain imaging
  • Only hospital in Orange County that does pediatric brain mapping using functional MRI (fMRI)
  • 50 percent lower CT radiation dose than many community facilities. For example, American College of Radiology recommends a dose of no more than 50 CTDI for pediatric heads, and CHOC is averaging 8-15 CTDI for pediatric heads
  • 90 percent radiation reduction on fluoroscopic procedures by using pulse dose technique and image capture, compared to the more commonly used continuous fluoroscopy and full image acquisition
  • Techs on site 24/7
  • Board-certified pediatric radiologists and specially trained pediatric radiology technologists, nurses and child life specialists
  • Distraction techniques, toys and devices, such as iPads and MRI movie goggles, are used for patient’s comfort
  • ACR accredited – MRI, CT and ultrasound (pediatric accreditation)
  • CT Scans entire body in less than 5 seconds, drastically reducing the need for anesthesia and repeat scans due to motion

Cardiothoracic Surgery

CHOC Children’s Specialists Cardiothoracic Surgery provides cardiothoracic surgery, medical treatment and follow-up care to infants, children and adolescents to repair congenital heart defects. Our pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons have completed a residency in general surgery as well as thoracic or cardiothoracic surgery, and a fellowship in congenital cardiac surgery.

CHOC has long been a leader in cardiac surgical care. Our team was instrumental in the development of new systems used to protect children’s hearts during surgery and improve heart-lung machine technology. We worked with bioengineers at Quest Medical to develop techniques and instruments that could be used to bring cardiopulmonary bypass technology to children and infants, previously available only for adults. CHOC was the first institution to offer this lifesaving technology that is now used in more than 60 institutions around the globe.

CHOC’s cardiothoracic surgeons lead the way in raising the standard of care and surgical outcomes for neonates undergoing open heart surgery. CHOC Children’s heart surgery program has the only facility in Orange County that performs newborn and pediatric open-heart surgery, and has dedicated cardiovascular operating rooms with extracorporeal life support (ECLS) and a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU).

Our cardiothoracic surgeons direct the ECLS program for the hospital.  The ECLS program at CHOC is a member of the International Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) and has been designated an ELSO “Center of Excellence” .  CHOC’s ECLS program provides life saving technology  to neonates thru adolescents with heart and/or lung failure.

For more than a decade, CHOC has been a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) National Database, an international benchmarking organization that sets the highest standards for hospitals performing heart surgery. CHOC was among the first 15 institutions to join the registry and report surgical outcome data. Today, there are more than 130 premiere hospitals in the STS database.

The CHOC Children’s Specialists Cardiothoracic team offers a full range of surgical procedures to correct heart and thoracic defects:

Heart Conditions

In addition to congenital heart defects, our cardiothoracic surgeons perform procedures to correct lung and chest wall defects as well as complex vascular procedures to place specialized lines for renal dialysis and chemotherapy.

Thoracic Conditions

  • Chest wall and lung malignancies
  • Lung defects – congenital pulmonary airway malformations, pulmonary sequestration, spontaneous pneumothorax
  • Lung infections
  • Pectus excavatum
  • Complex vascular access

Multidisciplinary Approach

CHOC’s multidisciplinary care complements these clinical services. Other members of the care team include additional specialists, interventionists, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, intensivists, cardiovascular nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, dietitians, social workers, child life specialists and case managers, all of whom have specialized training and expertise.

Leading-Edge Cardiodiagnostic Services

The CHOC Children’s Specialists Cardiothoracic team is fully equipped with advanced cardiodiagnostic equipment: