Hello, I’m Dr. Shawn Teague, a radiologist at National Jewish Health in Denver. I’d like to talk with you about magnetic resonance imaging of the heart, also known as cardiac M-R-I.
Cardiac M-R-I uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the heart. It’s used to detect or monitor cardiac disease, including evaluation of the heart’s anatomy and function. Cardiac M-R-I may also be used to plan treatment and/or monitor disease progression over time.
Cardiac M-R-I does not use ionizing radiation. It may be performed with or without contrast material. If contrast is required, it will be injected through an IV into a vein in your arm.
If you’re scheduled for a cardiac M-R-I, there are several things you can do to prepare.
First, discuss any serious health problems, recent surgeries, and allergies, especially to contrast material with your doctor. Also, inform your doctor and the MRI technologist if there is any possibility that you might be pregnant.
Be sure to tell the MRI technologist if you have any medical devices or metal objects implanted in your body. These metal objects can interfere with the magnetic field of the M-R-I unit. The magnetic field is not harmful; however, some implanted devices may malfunction or cause problems during the exam.
On the day of your exam, wear loose, comfortable clothing and leave any jewelry at home.
Most M-R-I exams are painless, but the machine does produce loud tapping and buzzing noises. You may be offered earmuffs, earplugs or headphones to reduce the sound. Some patients may find it uncomfortable to lie still for long periods while others may experience claustrophobia. If there is a concern, you may want to ask your doctor for a mild sedative to take prior to the exam.
For more information about cardiac M-R-I, visit Radiology Info dot org.