Magnetic Resonance Imaging - Cardiac

What is a Cardiac MRI?

A cardiac MRI is a diagnostic imaging of the heart by using radio waves and magnetism to produce high resolution, three-dimensional images of cardiac structures.  It asses the anatomy and function of the heart and surrounding vessels.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

A cardiac MRI is most commonly used to assess heart function and morphology, as well as to detect abnormalities such as valve regurgitation.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

Take nothing by mouth for 4 hours prior to your exam.  You should also avoid any caffeine, sports drinks or any medications that could elevate your heart rate for 24 hours prior to your exam.

Please inform your physician or technologist if you are claustrophobic, or if you have a pacemaker, aneurysm clips or any metallic implants.  You should also inform your physician or technologist if there is any possibility that you may be pregnant.

What will I experience during the MRI procedure?

Once you arrive in the MRI department, you will be asked to change into a gown and to remove any jewelry or metallic objects.  In most cases, a technologist or nurse will start an IV, so that contrast can be administered during your scan.  You will be asked to lie on your back on a sliding MRI table, which allows the technologist to move you into the MRI machine.  You will have an apparatus positioned over your chest while inside the machine.  You will be asked to hold very still for the duration of the exam, which could take up to 2 hours.  You will also be asked to complete a series of breath holds.  You may experience a cool sensation as the contrast is injected into your veins, and your body may feel an overall warmth as the scan is performed.  The MRI machine will make a series of loud, repetitive knocking sounds.  The technologist will offer you foam earplugs or a stereo headset to mask the noise.

Who interprets the results and how will I get them?

A radiologist or cardiologist will interpret the exam, and a signed report will be sent to your physician who will discuss the results with you.