Cardiac MRI

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What is it?

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scan that lets doctors see inside the body without having to perform surgery. Cardiac MRI is a test that gives doctors a detailed picture of the heart, including the chambers and valves, without patients having to undergo cardiac catheterization.

How does it work?

MRI looks like a long, narrow tube. When placed inside the tube, the body is surrounded by a magnetic field. The machine uses large magnets and radio-frequency waves to produce high-quality still and moving pictures. The scan monitors energy changes in tissues reactiving to magnetic forces and a computer analyzes these changes and creates images which can be seen on a computer monitor.

A cardiac MRI can image a large portion of the body, such as the chest, in one session. Because MRI acquires information about the heart as it is beating; it can create moving images of the heart throughout its pumping cycle. This allows MRI to display abnormalities in cardiac chamber contraction and to show abnormal patterns of blood flow in the heart and great vessels. Using MRI, physicians can obtain images of the chest and cardiovascular system from many angles.

Reasons for Cardiac MRI

Due to the development of new imaging techniques, MRI has the capability to identify areas of the heart muscle that are not receiving adequate blood supply from the coronary arteries. It can also clearly identify areas of the muscle that have become damaged as a result of heart attack.

Cardiac MRI diagnostic imaging procedure is used for evaluating:

What to Expect

This risk-free test is non-invasive, painless, and uses no radiation. The scan takes approximately one hour. The MRI machine will surround a patient during the test, and some people may feel closed in or claustrophobic. The patient will be asked to lie still, and possibly hold their breath briefly while the technician takes pictures of the heart.

St. Luke's Heart & Vascular