Cardiac MRI- Cardiology, Diagnostics

Doctors: Physician, radiologist, technologist

What is cardiac MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnets and radio waves to capture images inside the body without any surgical incision. A cardia MRI is done to examine the heart and adjacent blood vessels.

A cardiac MRI is generally done to evaluate and diagnose numerous conditions such as coronary heart disease, congenital heart defects, heart valve defects, heart failure, inflammation of the membrane around the heart (pericarditis), or any damage due to heart attack.

What to expect before the procedure?

Patient would be asked to remove any jewellery, watches, credit cards, hearing aids, pens, eyeglasses, pins or any metallic items.  Patient would be asked regarding any existing implants in their body such as artificial heart valves, implanted drug infusion ports, artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses.

The procedure:

During the procedure, the patient is asked to lie-down on the moveable examination table. Sometimes straps and bolsters might be used to help the patient stay still and maintain the correct position during imaging. Electrocardiogram leads would be placed on patient’s chest to help the MRI machine coordinate the image acquirement with the beating of the heart. While in the machine, patient would be able to communicate with the doctor or the technician. During the examination, the patient is asked to hold the breath for short duration of time.

If there is a need of using a contrast material during the examination, an intravenous (IV) catheter, is inserted into a vein in patient’s hand or arm. The doctor or technologist will perform the examination while working on a computer outside of the MRI room. Depending on the examination, it may take less than 90 minutes to complete the examination.

What to expect after the procedure?

After the examination is over, the patient is asked to wait till it is confirmed that the no additional images are required. If IV was given, it is removed. Patient may go back to the routine activities.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.