Royal Sussex County Hospital. Princes Royal Hospital. Hove Polyclinic. Sussex Universities

Cardiac MRI Scan (magnetic resonance imaging)

What is a Cardiac MRI?
A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan uses a magnet, radio waves and a powerful computer to perform detailed images of the structures of the heart. This helps in the early detection of disease and injury, allowing effective treatment planning.
It is normally a totally painless procedure, completely harmless and there are no known side effects. If any of the following applies to you, please contact us on the number on your appointment letter if you -

  • have a heart pacemaker or implanted defibrillator.
  • have had an operation to your brain or heart.
  • have any type of metal implant including artificial heart valves, metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples, implanted nerve stimulators.
  • have had an injury to your eyes involving metal fragments.
  • artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses
  • are, or might be pregnant.
  • have a kidney problem.

Preparing for your scan
You should also let the radiologist know if you have any serious health problems, or if you have had any recent surgeries. Some conditions, such as severe kidney disease, may prevent you from being given gadolinium contrast for an MRI.
Metal and electronic items can interfere with the magnetic field are not allowed in the scanning room. These items include:

  • Jewellry, watches, electronic devices, credit cards and hearing aids, all of which can be damaged.
  • All metal objects such as jewellery, watches and hearing aids and similar metallic items which can distort MRI images.
  • Removable dental work.
  • Body piercings.

In general, metal objects used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk during an MRI, however, a recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure.

What happens during a cardiac MRI scan?
You will be asked to lie on a bed that moves inside a tunnel-shaped scanner. The scanner is open at both ends. During the scan you will need to lie as still as you can. You will usually be alone in the exam room during the procedure, however, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times using a two-way intercom.
You will be given breathing instructions and will be asked to hold your breath on occasions during the scan.
The scan may last for up to an hour, it is quite noisy but you’ll usually be offered earplugs or earphones so you can listen to music.
For some cardiac MRIs the doctor will use a dye known as contrast agent so that the images of blood flow to your heart show up more clearly on the scan. The dye will be injected into a vein in your arm. Your doctor will give you more information about this if it ’s required.
The test is pain free, but if you’re claustrophobic (afraid of being in small spaces), tell your doctor before the test. You may be offered a mild sedative - a drug to help you relax.

Four chamber cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging Myxoma CMRCardiac magnetic resonance Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia
Attribution: JccMoon at English Wickipedia

What happens after the scan?
You should be able to go back to your normal activities straight away and does not require a stay overnight in hospital. Some exceptions to this are:

  • If you’ve been given a sedative, you won’t be able to drive and will need to be taken home by a friend or relative. You will not be allowed to drink alcohol or operate machinery for 24 hours.
  • If you’ve been given an injection of a dye (contrast agent), it’s a good idea to drink a lot of water for the following 24 hours to help flush the dye out of your body.

Brighton – 01273 696955 extn. 4665
The Senior Radiographer/Modality Manager for MRI 01273 696955 extn. 7535.
The Senior Radiologist for MRI 01273 696955 extn. 7232.

Services are based at Brighton. The department is open for routine cases from 8.00am to 6.00pm.