Dr Simon Kennon MB ChB, FRCP, MD Consultant Cardiologist

Cardiac MRI

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) creates detailed moving images of your heart. It does not involve radiation. It is the gold standard method of assessing the structure and function of the heart. It is a particularly good method of assessing the pumping action of the heart chambers. As with echocardiograms, rest and stress imaging can be undertaken to assess the blood supply to the heart. Stress imaging is undertaken using drugs injected into arm veins. The image quality is usually better than echocardiogram images but MRIs scans are not so readily available.

What to expect

you will be asked to lie on a narrow bed which moves inside a tunnel-shaped scanner that is open at both ends. The scan generally lasts about 45 minutes. You will need to lie still during the scan. There are speakers in the scanner for communication between you and the technician. Music can also be played through these speakers– a choice is provided! The test is painless, but if you're claustrophobic (afraid of being in small spaces), you may be offered a mild sedative to help you relax.