Cardiac MRI

A cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create a high resolution, detailed image of your heart that proves helpful in making an accurate diagnosis. This cardiovascular diagnostic test can:

  • Limit the need for more invasive testing
  • Last about 60 minutes
  • Require specially trained physicians to perform and interpret the results
  • Use new and complex computer software

A physician is usually present during the MRI to guide the testing and interpret images.

A contrast dye or agent may be used during your cardiac MRI to make certain parts of the heart and blood vessels appear brighter. The contrast agent is non-iodinated so it is safer for patients with mild kidney dysfunction to use and will not interact with most medications. A kidney function test may be done prior to the cardiac MRI to help physicians determine the dose of contrast to administer during the cardiac MRI or if the MRI will occur without contrast.

If you have any metal inside of your body, please tell your physician before the exam. This may include:

  • Aneurysm clip
  • Bullets or shrapnel
  • Ear or eye implant
  • Heart pacemaker or implantable defibrillator (ICD)
  • Joint or bone rods or clips
  • Metal plate

If you have any of the above metals in your body, a physician will review the protocol and determine if it is safe to perform a cardiac MRI. In patients with heart pacemakers or ICDs, your physician will work closely with your cardiologist to determine if you can undergo a cardiac MRI.

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