Ernest Garcia, PhD

Interpreting Heart Images

In 1979, clinicians were dazzled by the first images of blood flowing to the beating heart. New cardiac imaging technology would revolutionize diagnosis of heart disease--but only after Emory imaging expert Ernest Garcia created the software needed to interpret the dancing images.

Looking at the images themselves was an art, slowly acquired at best. To transform this art into a science, Garcia's laboratory work led to the Emory Cardiac Toolbox. This software compared images from thousands of healthy and diseased hearts and then quantified and scored differences, helping clarify what was clinically significant.

Numerous clinical trials proved that the software produced accurate diagnoses at vastly greater speed than individual humans. As cardiac imaging advanced, the toolbox expanded. Other inventors later followed Garcia's lead, but the Emory Cardiac Toolbox continues to be used worldwide in almost half of the more than 10 million imaging tests performed each year.