Heart MRI

Heart MRI

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart is a sophisticated test that produces detailed images of the structures and anatomy of the heart. It is a non-invasive imaging technique used to diagnose and treat various heart conditions. The images obtained from the MRI of the heart can help doctors diagnose disorders, determine the severity of their disease, and plan appropriate treatments.

Preparation for a Heart MRI

  • No food or drink should be consumed four to six hours prior to the scan.
  • Patients may be advised to remove any clothing or jewellery that has metal components such as zippers, buttons, and earrings.
  • Patients with underlying medical conditions should inform the doctor before the heart MRI.
  • Patients should inform about any known allergies and medications they are taking.

Procedure for a Heart MRI

  • Patients may be asked to change into a hospital gown for the scan.
  • The patient is asked to lie down on a movable table that slides inside the scanner.
  • The MRI machine generates high magnetic fields and radio waves which produce images of your heart.
  • The radiologist may ask the patient to hold his breath for short intervals while the MRI images are taken.
  • The entire MRI procedure may take 1-2 hours.
  • The results of the MRI will be discussed with the patient by the doctor.

Types of Heart MRI

  • Cardiac angiogram: This test helps evaluate the heart’s main pumping chambers and evaluate the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
  • Cardiac Cine MRI: This test helps in measuring the velocity of the blood flow in the heart.
  • Delayed Enhancement MRI: This test helps in identifying damaged heart tissue, also known as scarring.
  • Focused Cardiac MRI: This test helps evaluate the patient’s risk for a heart attack and other heart diseases.
  • Stress Cardiac MRI: This test is used to examine how the heart functions while it is under physical stress.

Risks of a Heart MRI

There are very few risks associated with a heart MRI. Radiologists use contrast agents or dyes to obtain detailed images of the heart. Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the dye used, which is typically mild and can be managed with medication..

When Is a Heart MRI Performed?

An MRI of the heart may be used to diagnose, monitor, and treat heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, heart defects, and arrhythmias. If your physician thinks that an MRI may be helpful to diagnose or treat a heart condition, he or she will recommend it.

Why Should You Have a Heart MRI?

The MRI of the heart is a painless, non-invasive imaging modality, which can allow physicians to get detailed information about the structure and function of the heart, without any exposure to radiation. By using an MRI, doctors can often get better and more targeted information about heart conditions than they would from other imaging tests, such as X-rays.