A Cardiac MRI is a scan that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to take detailed pictures of your heart and tissues.
What is a cardiac MRI?
A cardiac MRI (which stands for magnetic resonance imaging) is a scan that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to take detailed pictures of your heart and tissues.
Why do I need a cardiac MRI?
Your doctor may recommend a cardiac MRI for you in order to:
- Detect any heart abnormalities
- Determine if you have heart disease
- Identify damage to your heart from a previous heart attack
- Diagnose problems with the heart muscle
- Diagnose tumours or birth defects
Below, you can watch a short video explaining more about a cardiac MRI from one of our doctors.
Below, you can watch an animation explaining what happens during a cardiac MRI procedure.
What are the risks of a cardiac MRI?
MRIs are safe procedures - however there are some risks. If you have metal in your body (for example, artificial heart valves, a pacemaker, or cochlear implants) you may not be able to take the test. If you’re pregnant, or if you have any kidney problems, you may need a different test - discuss your options with your doctor.
How do I prepare for a cardiac MRI?
There’s not a lot of preparation you need to do to prepare for your MRI. You can eat and drink normally in the days leading up to the test. Just before your MRI begins, you’ll need to remove all jewellery and any metal objects. You will be asked to put on on a hospital gown.
What happens during a cardiac MRI?
During your cardiac MRI procedure:
- You will lie very still on a table
- The table will slide into a large cylinder (the MRI machine)
- Detailed pictures of your heart and blood vessels are taken
- You’ll be instructed to hold your breath for 10 seconds as each picture is taken
- The MRI machine will make loud humming, tapping and buzzing noises
- Your doctor will communicate with you using headphones
The entire procedure takes around 45 minutes.
What happens after a cardiac MRI?
Your doctor will discuss your results and recommend an appropriate treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms moving forward.