What to expect before Cardiac MRI?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Dec 28, 2012

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You'll be asked to fill out a screening form before having cardiac MRI. The form may ask whether you have had previous surgeries, have any metal objects in your body, or have any medical devices (like a cardiac pacemaker) surgically implanted in your body.

Most, but not all, implanted medical devices are allowed near the MRI machine. Talk to your doctor or the technician operating the machine if you have concerns about any implanted devices or conditions that may interfere with the MRI.

MRI can seriously affect some types of implanted medical devices.

  • Implanted cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators can malfunction.
  • Cochlear (inner-ear) implants can be damaged. Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that help people who are deaf or who can’t hear well understand speech and the sounds around them.
  • Brain aneurysm (AN-u-rism) clips can move due to MRI's strong magnetic field. This can cause severe injury.

Your doctor will let you know if you shouldn't have a cardiac MRI because of a medical device. If this happens, consider wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace or carrying a medical alert card that states that you shouldn't have an MRI.

Your doctor or technician will tell you whether you need to change into a hospital gown for the test. Don't bring hearing aids, credit cards, jewelry and watches, eyeglasses, pens, removable dental work, and anything that's magnetic near the MRI machine.


Tell your doctor if being in a fairly tight or confined space causes you anxiety or fear. This fear is called claustrophobia (klaw-stro-FO-be-a). If you have this condition, your doctor might give you medicine to help you relax. Your doctor may ask you to fast (not eat) for 6 hours before you take this medicine on the day of the test.


Some of the newer cardiac MRI machines are open on all sides. Ask your doctor to help you find a facility that has an open MRI machine if you're fearful in tight or confined spaces.

Your doctor will let you know whether you need to arrange for a ride home after the test.


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