Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the structures within and around the heart. Cardiac MRI is used to detect or monitor cardiac disease and to evaluate the heart’s anatomy and function in patients with both heart disease present at birth and heart diseases that develop after birth. Cardiac MRI does not use ionizing radiation to produce images, and it may provide the best images of the heart for certain conditions.
What is Cardiac MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive test used to diagnose medical conditions.
MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of internal body structures. MRI does not use radiation (x-rays).
Detailed MR images allow doctors to examine the body and detect disease. The images can be reviewed on a computer monitor. They may also be sent electronically, printed or copied to a CD, or uploaded to a digital cloud server.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
Cardiac MRI is performed to help your physician detect or monitor cardiac disease by:
- evaluating the anatomy and function of the heart chambers, heart valves, size of and blood flow through major vessels, and the surrounding structures such as the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart).
- diagnosing a variety of cardiovascular (heart and/or blood vessel) disorders such as tumors, infections, and inflammatory conditions.
- evaluating the effects of coronary artery disease such as limited blood flow to the heart muscle and scarring within the heart muscle after a heart attack.
- planning a patient’s treatment for cardiovascular disorders.
- monitoring the progression of certain disorders over time.
- evaluating the effects of surgical changes, especially in patients with congenital heart disease.
- evaluating the anatomy of the heart and blood vessels in children and adults with congenital heart disease (heart disease present at birth).