Cardiac MRI is a noninvasive procedure that obtains structural and functional images of the heart and surrounding vessels.
When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.
You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your chest. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet and you will usually go into the magnet head first.
Your heart rate must be monitored throughout the examination, so the technologist will place some small electrodes on your chest and connect these to a battery operated monitor for the duration of the examination. You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.
During the examination you will be instructed to hold your breath, enabling for clearer pictures to be obtained. Each breathe hold ranges from 10-15 secs.
In some cases, an injection of a contrast dye (gadolinium) is required. If this is required the technologist will inform you beforehand and explain the process. The contrast dye will be administered through a small needle (intravenous cannula) that will be placed in your arm.
Before your Scan
When making your appointment, you will be instructed to fast from all stimulants (caffeine, nicotine etc.) for 6 hours prior to your examination. If you are currently taking medication for your condition, you can continue to do so.
Cardiac MRI takes between 45mins-1hr.