Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart and blood vessels is called cardiovascular MRI or simply cardiac MRI. It is a noninvasive way to capture images of the beating heart and surrounding arteries and veins for purposes of detecting damage or disease. Because MRI does not involve radiation, it is safe for people of all ages, including children with congenital heart disease.
The Sperling Diagnostic Center offers the most advanced MRI technology used in the U.S. In order to maximize each patient’s heart health, our state-of-the-art equipment is specially optimized for cardiac applications. Our expert staff provides fast and comfortable scanning protocols with unparalleled image quality and accuracy. Our team of experienced readers brings authoritative knowledge to interpreting the scans.
Some of the important uses for MRI scans of the cardiovascular system are:
- Assessing the basic anatomy (form) of the heart including chambers, valves and the pericardium (the fluid-filled sac surrounding the heart) in 3D imaging
- Measuring how well the heart is functioning, including the direction, rate and amount of blood moving through it
- Detecting and diagnosing abnormal heart muscle or blood vessel conditions
- Detecting heart muscle damage and scarring from a heart attack
- Evaluating congenital (present from birth) heart disease in children
- Treatment planning for cardiologic disease and disorders
- Monitoring treatment success
MRI is a preferred modality for risk-free (no radiation) imaging of the heart and blood vessels. By showing both the form and functioning of the heart, it helps diagnose heart attack, coronary disease, angina, valve problems, tumors and other abnormal conditions.
How Should I Prepare for Cardiac MRI?
We will go over everything you need to know when making your appointment, but here are some useful tips before you arrive:
- MRI depends on a powerful magnetic field. We will provide you with a locker, but leave any unnecessary metal objects at home, such as jewelry, watches, hair pins, pens, body piercings, credit cards, and removable metal dental appliances.
- Let us know ahead of time if you have a pacemaker, cochlear ear implants, or any surgically implanted metal coils or clips. Ask in advance if you are not sure about these or other types, e.g. joint replacement devices.
- Tell us if you are claustrophobic (fear of confinement in small spaces). Our magnet has a shorter, wider “tunnel” (bore) to help reduce anxiety. We will explain everything that’s involved with your scanning session, and can provide medication if needed.
- Family and loved ones who plan to accompany the patient may stay in the room, but must adhere to the same cautions regarding metal objects and implants.
- Young children cannot be expected to lie still. Some of our imaging sequences compensate for patient movement, but no child is completely predictable. If you are the parent of a small child, we will discuss in advance if a form of sedation might help make your child’s experience easier.
Because every heartbeat matters, your heart matters to us. Contact us today at (800) 123-4567 to schedule your cardiovascular imaging consultation.