A test that produces high-quality still and moving pictures of the heart and great vessels. MRI uses large magnets and radio-frequency waves to produce pictures of the body’s internal structures; no x-ray exposure is involved. MRI acquires information about the heart as it is beating; creating moving images of the heart throughout its pumping cycle.
Your doctor uses the MRI to evaluate:
- The anatomy and function of the structures of the chest: heart, great vessels and pericardium
- Presence of disease: ischemic heart disease, thoracic aortic disease, pericardial disease, right ventricular abnormalities, cardiac tumors, valve disease, heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), pulmonary artery disease and complex congenital heart disease
What to expect:
- An MRI technologist will prepare you for your scan.
- You will change into a hospital gown.
- The technologist will place small sticky, electrode patches on your chest and back. Men may expect to have their chest partially shaved to help the electrodes stick. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor, which charts your heart’s electrical activity during the test.
- Most likely, an intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into a vein in your arm for non-iodine based contrast (dye) administration.
- The MRI scanner unit is a long tube that scans the body as you lie on a platform bed. It is fully lit and ventilated, and open at both ends. An intercom system allows you to talk to the scanner operators during the test. You will lie on your back on the scanner bed, with your head and legs elevated for comfort. During the exam, you will be asked to lie as still as possible. The technologist will ask you to hold your breath periodically for short periods in order to reduce blurring of the images from breathing motion.
- During scanning, you may hear loud banging noises, which can be muffled with headphones or earplugs you will receive before scanning begins.
The MRI scan takes about 30 to 75 minutes, depending on the extent of the imaging needed.
After the procedure:
- If you received sedation:
- The MRI nurse will give you instructions on when you can eat, drink and return to normal activities.
- A companion should drive you home.
- If you did not receive sedation, you may resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately.
- Your physician will discuss the results of your test with you.
Please ask your doctor if you have any questions about the MRI. To schedule an appointment, you or your doctor may contact: 800.223.2273, extension 5-7050.