David Fieno, MD PhD

Engineer and Inventor of Cardiac MRI Morphs Passion into Career as Surgical Cardiologist

Moving Health Forward
David Fieno, MD PhD, is dedicated to innovation in cardiology, having helped to invent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). “Heart disease is the most prevalent killer in the western world. Two out of three people die from cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Fieno. 

While MRI technology existed at the time of  Dr. Fieno’s invention, there was no way to image certain areas of the heart, and given that the organ is in constant motion, capturing detailed images proved challenging for traditional methodology. After earning a BS in Chemistry and BS in Electrical Engineering from Ohio University followed by a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, Dr. Fieno put his skills to work. He designed a way to enable existing MRI technology to, in essence, help physicians determine which areas of a diseased heart are viable by capturing specific images. 

The imaging test uses radio waves, magnets and a computer to create detailed pictures of the heart. Cardiac MRI can provide comprehensive information on the type and severity of heart disease to help determine the best way to treat heart problems such as coronary heart disease, heart valve issues, pericarditis, cardiac tumors or damage from a heart attack.

His passion then led him to medical school, and after graduating from Northwestern, he completed his residency in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in Cardiology and Cardiovascular Diseases at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and the University of California at Los Angeles. 

Having relocated to Alabama,  Dr. Fieno is an invasive surgical cardiologist with Heart South Cardiovascular Group, PC, a group affiliated with Shelby Baptist Medical Center. And with Shelby Baptist having acquired the cardiac MRI capability Dr. Fieno helped invent nearly 20 years prior, his dedication to help fight heart disease has come full circle.