MRI is the acronym for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI uses a powerful magnet, radio waves and a computer to get pictures of any body part, including the heart. Cardiac MRI does not expose the patient to any radiation.
Who needs a cardiac MRI?
Cardiac MRIs are used for evaluation of patients with very specific heart conditions, usually those with previously operated congenital heart disease.
A cardiac MRI takes very clear pictures of the heart and blood vessels in the chest. Cardiac MRI is also able to provide detailed measurements of certain heart parameters unavailable by other means.
A Cardiac MRI test is performed by a specially trained MRI technologist, MRI Radiologist, an MRI Physicist, and a MRI Cardiologist. The test will be read by both a MRI Cardiologist and MRI radiologist.
Most patients do not require sedation. Some patients have claustrophobia and for these patients a small dose of Valium usually helps them to tolerate the scan.
Patients also must be able to follow instructions carefully, particularly in holding their breath for several seconds on command.
The only implanted devices absolutely not allowed in the MRI scanner are pacemakers and defibrillators, since the powerful MRI magnet may disrupt these devices. The magnet does not disrupt function of other metal devices, such as implanted articial heart valves. But any removable metal should be removed.
Check with your doctor for more info on Cardiac MRI.