A Cardiac MRI is a safe, non-invasive, and painless method to get the internal picture of the heart without any surgical incision. Cardiac MRI is primarily used to diagnose heart diseases, detect heart damage, and notice blood flow in heart valves and chambers.
A cardiac MRI does not use any radiation and usually takes pictures with the help of radio waves and magnets that scan the heart and create images of the internal parts without any pain or irritation.
Diseases diagnosed through Cardiac MRI
Your doctor can diagnose the following disease through a Cardiac MRI test:
- Heart failure
- Heart enlargement
- Actual cause behind the chest pain, fainting, and shortness of breath
- Damage, infection, and inflammation in the heart muscles
- Cancer in heart
- Pericardial diseases
- Congenital heart diseases
- Diseases that affect the pericardium
- Irregular deposition of iron in the heart
- Heart valve diseases such as prosthetic valves, narrowed valves, and leaky valves
- Thickening of heart muscles
- Damage, narrow or inflamed aorta
Why is a Cardiac MRI performed?
A Cardiac MRI is performed to comprehensively analyze the structure and functioning of the heart and the disease present in the heart. Your doctor may suggest a cardiac MRI for the following reasons:
- To diagnose the blood flow and blockage in arteries.
- To detect the damage in the heart after a heart attack.
- To know the actual location for the treatment of ablation.
- To see the progress of recent surgery or treatment.
- To plan treatment in the heart.
- To check how much the disease has affected the heart since the last scan.
Before the test
Usually, a cardiac MRI does not harm you, but your doctor may take a complete history of your health before it. He may ask about your pregnancy or whether you have metal implants in your body because in that condition,
Cardiac MRI will not be appropriate for you. Your doctor also asked about your allergies, health problems, and surgeries before suggesting a cardiac MRI. On the day of your Cardiac MRI, you have to take care of the following things:
- Take your medicines and have regular meals on the day of the Cardiac MRI according to your doctor’s instructions.
- Avoid wearing jewelry during the test because it may create a problem with the machine’s magnet and images. The radio waves can damage your jewelry as well.
- Remove all the hearing aids, piercings, glasses, and hair accessories that contain metal.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes.
- If you wear clothes with metal zippers or studs, take them off before the test and change into a hospital gown.
During the test
Your doctor or outpatient facilitator that operates the MRI machine will perform your test. The whole process occurs within 30 to 90 minutes. During the trial, you may expect the following things:
- An MRI machine looks like a bench glides slowly into a large tube attached to a doughnut shape opening.
- You are safe when you follow your doctor’s instructions and remove all the metal and jewelry.
- The doctor may direct you to lie on the bench during the test.
- The movement of the bench will be controlled by a technologist from another room or side of the room. You can communicate with him through the microphone.
- Your technologist may put stickers with electro gram leads on your chest and a belt below your chest to get the information regarding your breathing and heart.
- Your doctor may also use a special dye gadolinium-based contrast agent, which helps to highlight specific parts of your heart.
- While taking a picture of internal parts of your heart and body, the machine may make loud whirring and thumping noises.
- You may also offer earplugs or headphones to avoid the noise.
- The technologist may tell you to hold your breath for a few seconds during the test when the pictures are taken.
- You will not feel anything because the machine’s magnets and radio frequencies are insensible.
After the test, your technologist will slide the table, allowing you to leave. You can drive home until and unless you do not have any anti-anxiety medicine or sedation. You will get the reports within a few days because reviewing and interpreting images may take some time.
Cardiac tests do not have documented side effects because this test does not contain radiation. You may feel a metallic taste for some time after the test, and in some cases, patients also feel nausea and headache because of the contrast they got in IV.