What is Cardiac MRI used for?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 28, 2012

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Quick Bites

  • The use of cardiac MRI can help diagnosing and assessing many diseases and conditions.
  • This safe and noninvasive test creates detailed pictures of your organs and tissues.
  • Cardiac MRI creates both still and moving pictures of your heart and major blood vessels.
  • It can help explain results from other tests, such as x rays and computed tomography.

The doctor supervising your scan will provide your doctor with the results of your cardiac MRI. Your doctor will discuss the findings with you.

Cardiac MRI can reveal various heart conditions and disorders, such as:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Damage caused by a heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve problems
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Pericarditis (a condition in which the membrane, or sac, around your heart is inflamed)
  • Cardiac tumors

Cardiac MRI is a fast, accurate tool that can help diagnose a heart attack. The test does this by detecting areas of the heart that don’t move normally, have poor blood supply, or are scarred.

Cardiac MRI can show whether any of the coronary arteries are blocked, causing reduced blood flow to your heart muscle.

Currently, coronary angiography (an-jee-OG-ra-fee) is the most common procedure for looking at blockages in the coronary arteries. Coronary angiography is an invasive procedure that uses x rays and iodine-based dyes.

Researchers have found that cardiac MRI can replace coronary angiography in some cases, avoiding the need to use x-ray radiation and iodine-based dyes. This use of MRI is called MRI angiography.

Cardiac MRI

Figure A shows the heart's position in the body and the location and angle of the MRI pictures shown in figure C. Figure B is an MRI angiogram, which is sometimes used instead of a standard angiogram. Figure C shows MRI pictures of a normal left ventricle (left image), a left ventricle damaged from a heart attack (middle image), and a left ventricle that isn't getting enough blood from the coronary arteries (right image).

Researchers are finding new ways to use cardiac MRI. In the future, cardiac MRI may replace x rays as the main way to guide invasive procedures such as cardiac catheterization (KATH-e-ter-i-ZA-shun). Also, improvements in cardiac MRI are likely to lead to better methods for detecting heart disease in the future.


Image Source: NIH


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